March 11, 2020

PRESS RELEASE
SPEAKING TIGER AUTHOR NAYANTARA SAHGAL CONFERRED WITH
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AT AUTHER AWARDS 2020

9th March 2020, New Delhi:

Eminent author Nayantara Sahgal was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the AutHer Awards 2020 for her outstanding contribution to literature. The award was presented at a ceremony held at Taj Palace, New Delhi on 8 March 2020.

In her acceptance speech, Nayantara Sahgal said, “I am honoured … to be the first recipient of an award exclusively for women writers. In writing, as in other areas of our lives, men have dictated the rules…this new AutHER’s Award is giving Indian women a weapon to … kick away the barriers that force them into rigid conventional modes, and to write, if they wish to, of what intimately concerns their bodies, their minds, their lives, their pleasure and their pains.’’ (To read the full speech, log onto https://www.speakingtigerbooks.com/nayantara-sahgal-acceptance-speech-for-lifetime-achievement-award-at-auther-awards-2020-8-march-2020/ )

A doyenne amongst writers, Nayantara Sahgal is one of the most respected literary voices in India. She is the author of several works of fiction and non-fiction, the first of which, Prison and Chocolate Cake, an autobiography, was published in 1954. She has received the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Sinclair Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. She returned her Akademi Award in 2015 in protest against the murder by vigilantes of three writers, and the Akademi’s silence at the time. She has been a Vice President of the PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties) and is engaged in an ongoing protest against the assaults on the freedom of expression and democratic rights.
Her most recent novels, The Fate of Butterflies (2019) and When the Moon Shines by Day (2017 – longlisted for the 2018 JCB Prize), are published by Speaking Tiger.


The Fate of Butterflies

Prabhakar, returning home one evening, comes upon a corpse at a crossroads, naked but for the skullcap on his head. Days later, he listens to Katerina’s stark retelling of a gang rape in a village, as chilling as only the account of a victim can be. And in a macabre sequence, he finds his favourite dhaba no longer serves gular kebabs and rumali roti, while Bonjour, the fine dining restaurant run by a gay couple, has been vandalised by goons. Casting a long shadow over it all is Mirajkar, the ‘Master Mind’, brilliant policy maker and political theorist, who is determined to rid the country of all elements alien to its culture—as he, and his partymen, perceive it. A professor of political science, Prabhakar observes these occurrences with deepening concern. Is the theory he put forth in his book—that it is not the influence of those who preach goodness and compassion that prevails, but the matter-of-factness of cruelty—playing out before him? In the midst of all this, he meets Katerina, beautiful, half-Russian, wearing the scars of a brutal incident as a badge of honour. Together, they discover that, even in times that are grim, there is joy to be had.

When the Moon Shines by Day
India has changed. Rehana finds her father’s books on medieval history have been ‘disappeared’ from bookstores and libraries. Her young domestic help, Abdul, discovers it is safer to be called Morari Lal in the street, but there is no such protection from vigilante fury for his Dalit friend, Suraj. Kamlesh, a diplomat and writer, comes up against official wrath for his anti-war views. A bomb goes off at Cyrus Batliwala’s gallery on the opening day of an art show. Presiding over this new world is the Director of Cultural Transformation, whose smiling affability masks a relentless agenda to create a Hindu master race. In this atmosphere, Rehana and her three book-club friends, Nandini, Aruna and Lily, meet every week to discuss a book one of them has chosen—their oasis of peace amidst the harshness of reality—even as Rehana’s German friend, Franz Rohner, haunted by his country’s Nazi past, warns her of what is to come. All revolutions, he wryly observes, follow the same path. But is India about to prove him wrong? In this brilliant, dystopian satire, Nayantara Sahgal draws a telling portrait of our times.

The AutHer Awards – a joint venture between JK Paper and Times of India — are a celebration of women authors who have added value and creativity to the literary space. The award categories are: Best Author – Fiction, Best Author – Non-fiction, Best Author – Debut, Best Author – Children and Popular Choice Award. The chairs for the AutHer Awards jury consisted of author Ashwin Sanghi (Fiction), actor and author Sonali Bendre (Non-Fiction), columnist and author Shobhaa De (Debut), and author Bulbul Sharma (Children’s books) and other jury members.

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