Author Rajni Bakshi, prominent for her writing on socio-political movements in India, won two awards for her book Bazaars, Conversations and Freedom at the Vodafone Crossword Book Awards for 2009.
The book won in the non-fiction category jointly with Sunanda K. Datta-Ray’s Looking East To Look West —category went to Malayalam author Sarah Joseph and translator Valson Thampu, for the book Othappu.
“I am absolutely overwhelmed to receive this award,” said Bakshi, who briefly thanked her mother and her publishers after picking up the awards from chief guest and popular children’s author Ruskin Bond. Her book discusses how the working of today’s free markets can be evolved in a way that is more humane.
The Crossword Book Awards were instituted in 1998 for recognizing the best of Indian Fiction in English, but have expanded to other categories over the years.
This year, the Children’s category was introduced for the first time and the Translation category was extended beyond fiction to translations in all other forms of writing.
“I am glad there is finally an award for children’s writing. This writing has not ‘arrived’ with this award — it had always been there — but it can now stand up and take a bow,” said Sharma, whose Grasshopper’s Run is a war novel set in North-East India dealing with the friendship between a Naga and an Assamese boy.
There were 211 entries for the awards this year across five categories. The jury — three members for each category — included noted authors and academicians such as Harish Trivedi (fiction), Urvashi Butalia (non-fiction) and Paro Anand (children).