New York: Indian author Siddhartha Deb has been named among the winners of the 2012 PEN Awards, considered the most comprehensive literary awards programme in the US, for his non-fiction work on India, which is described as a "gripping analysis" of the country and an "important book" of current times.
Deb's book 'The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India' won the 'PEN Open Book Award', which carries a USD 5000 cash reward "for an exceptional work of literature by an author of colour."
The judges said in their citation that Deb's book is a "wildly original and enjoyable tour of contemporary India in flux as globalisation's impact takes hold." Deb's book chronicles varying lives in contemporary India, including that of highly paid call centre workers, an entertainment mogul and the tragedy of the farmer suicides. "Deb gives us a gripping analysis of what is happening in India, where an uncertain world is being built from its newest industries and oldest traditions, as well as a portrait of our own new and uncertain America in the background, also in crisis.
An important book for our times," the citation said. The PEN Open Book Award was created by PEN American Center's Open Book Committee, which is a group committed to racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities. The city-based PEN American Centre was founded in 1922 and its membership of over 3000 writers and editors includes literary luminaries like author Salman Rushdie, American poet Robert Frost and essayist Arther Miller.
For over 50 years, PEN's Literary Awards programme has honoured many of the most outstanding voices in literature. This year PEN presented 18 awards, fellowships and grants totalling USD 175,000.