Benyamin wins inaugural JCB Prize for Literature

Benyamin wins inaugural JCB Prize for Literature

Novelist and short story writer Benyamin has won the inaugural JCB prize for Literature in India.

Benyamin won 25 lakh rupees (£26,000) for his book Jasmine Days, translated from Malayalem by Shahnaz Habib, who received a prize of 5 lakh rupees (£5,000).

Jasmine Days is a story of a young woman in a city where the promise of revolution turns into destruction and division. It takes place during a revolution - the Jasmine Revolution - that started December 2010 and the novel is “a metaphor for the world today, full of fanatics”, according to the author.

Vivek Shanbhag, chair of the judging panel, said: “The courage shown by Benyamin in Jasmine Days in examining some of the most important conflicts of our times is exceptional. The novel provides powerful insights into the violence associated with change. It also raises profound questions about the relationship between crime, punishment and forgiveness. A brilliant and intense novel.”

Benyamin has written 20 books, including novels and collections of short stories, and lives in Kerala.