Four authors get Atta Galatta-BLF awards

Four authors get Atta Galatta-BLF awards

Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) Book Prize award (from left) Dr H S Venkatesha Murthy, Tony Joseph and Udayan Mitra are seen at the BLF organised by Atta Galatta, at hotel Lalit Ashok in Bengaluru on Sunday. (DH Photo)

A quartet of Indian authors was awarded during the annual Bangalore Literature Festival on Sunday.

Four literary awards were handed out on behalf of the Atta Gallata bookstore, which instituted the awards to recognise outstanding writing since 2015.

Bhopal-based author Vinod Kumar Shukla was given the award for best fiction writing for his 2019 book ‘Blue is Like Blue’, which, a member of the jury, Arundhathi Subramaniam described as a strikingly original piece of work.

“What is so remarkable about this book is that it elevates things that are mundane, into the magical word. At the same time, it portrays life in a deceptively simple fashion while being subconscious,” Arundati said.

The book, which is set in a provincial small town in North India, deals with ‘smaller-than-life’ people, who have all the fears inherent with their situation — shortage of money, fear of being overcharged and preoccupation with the business of just getting by.

The scale of the book is contrasted by the ambitions of ‘Early Indians’, by Tony Joseph, who took the award for best non-fiction.

The book attempts to examine a thousand years of genealogy on the subcontinent. While Joseph was unavailable to meet, Subodh Shankar, the owner of Atta Gallata, explained that the book had taken Joseph six years to research and write.

A special achievement award was handed to the Kannada auteur, Dr H S Venkatesha Murthy, for his contributions to Kannada literature.

“I am happy to have received this award, not because of the award itself, but because of the previous illustrious people who have also been feted, including Prabhu Nandukumar and K V Tirmalesh,” Murthy said.

He added he was now fully engaged in completing the final volume to his analysis of Kumara Vyasa’s 15th-century translation of Mahabharata.

When asked if Kannada literature was in danger of being overshadowed by Hindi and English publications, Murthy said the demand for popular Kannada works remains as high as ever. “The most popular books in the language sell an average of 20,000 copies every year,” he said.

The final category of awards, which was decided by an online poll, was given to Gopal Das Gaur, a spiritual teacher for his book ‘Life’s Amazing Secrets’.