From the press release
The Vodafone-Crossword Book Awards 2008 shortlist is star-studded — and finding place are ‘The Enchantress of Florence’ by Salman Rushdie, ‘Sea of Poppies’ by Amitav Ghosh, ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ by Jhumpa Lahiri, ‘Past Continuous’ by Neel Mukherjee and ‘Escape’ by Manjula Padmanabhan.
This was announced by a panel comprising publisher-writer Urvashi Butalia, authors Mani Shankar Mukherji and Namita Devidayal and founder of Crosswords Bookstore R. Sriram in the capital Thursday.
The shortlisted nominees were selected by a panel of judges from a long list of 176 entries submitted by publishers.
The eligibility criteria for the award is that entries must be works of prose fiction, excluding teenage and children fiction, the entries must be either full-length novels or collections of short stories, they must be original works in English and the authors must be of Indian origin.
‘The role of the awards is not just recognising the authors. It is almost like the Oscars. We want to take contemporary Indian literature to a new level and involve people,’ said Namita Devidayal, winner of the award in 2007 for her work of fiction ‘The Music Room’.
How do they shortlist? is it on popularity of the book or the fame of the author? I can understand Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and even Jhumpa Lahiri, no one dare leave them out of an award such as this. But Escape by Manjula Padmanabhan???? Even a google search for reviews of the book will put the book in perspective.