November 03, 2017

Big Little Book Award: Tata Trusts’ Parag Initiative & Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2017 announce shortlist of authors

Second edition of award to honour Bengali authors of children’s literature

Kolkata: Parag, an initiative of Tata Trusts, and Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2017, today announced the shortlist of authors nominated for the ‘Big Little Book Award’ for children’s literature in Indian languages. In its second year, the award considered children’s literature in the Bengali language. The awards will be conferred on 19th November 2017. The shortlisted authors are:

Shortlisted authors are Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Amarendra Chakravorty and Kartik Ghosh.

Nabaneeta Dev Sen
Nabaneeta Dev Sen has been writing for children since 1979. She is renowned as a feminist author and has also written widely for adults. She has been the recipient of various prestigious awards such as the Sahitya Academy Award and the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award, as well as the Padma Shree. She has written books spanning across several genres – novels, travelogues, short stories and plays. Her contribution to contemporary Bengali literature cannot be ignored. Her stories explore a wide range of human emotions, and often have strong female central characters.


Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay
A prolific writer of contemporary literature in Bengal, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay has engaged readers across generations. He has written extensively both for children and for adults. Many of his books have been adapted for the big screen by acclaimed directors. He is the recipient of several awards such as the Sahitya Academy Award, Ananda Puroshkar. His Monojder Adbhut Bari, Goshaibaganer Bhoot and Patalghar are treasured by young and old alike. He is presently associated with the magazine, Desh.


Amarendra Chakravorty
Amarendra Chakravorty is a poet, writer and travel-filmmaker who is also the founder-editor of the travel magazine Bhraman. He has written a number of books for children. His books Amazoner Jongole, Hiru Dakat and Shada Ghora are well known. Many of his books have been translated into regional as well as foreign languages. His book Gorillar Chokh won the Bal Sahitya Purashkar of the Sahitya Academy.


Kartik Ghosh
Born in a small village in Arambagh, Hooghly District, Kartik Ghosh went on to work in the editorial teams of various Bengali newspapers and magazines. He has written short stories, novels, fairy-tales, poems and has explored various other genres through his writing. He has received several accolades, including the National Award for Children’s literature for his book Ekta Meye Eka. His books Juifuler Rumal, Cholo Chiriakhana, Shei Chheleta and Pyakatir Nouka are especially popular. Nature plays a very beautiful and tender role in most of his works, which is reminiscent of his upbringing amidst nature.


The Big Little Book Awards honours both authors and illustrators whose body of work connects with children, gives them joy, encourages them to think, introduces them to new ideas and cultures, is inclusive, and balances the traditional with the contemporary. The nominations were sought from publishers, librarians and academicians.

The nomination process, which began in June 2017, received an overwhelming response. More information can be accessed at

“Tata Trusts’ Parag is a decade old initiative that promotes the joy of reading among children. Recognising authors and illustrators whose work engages children is important in order to recognise their contribution and create awareness on role and importance of children's literature. This is why we conceived the Big Little Book Awards. This year, the Big Little Book Award confers this recognition to authors writing in Bangla. We hope the award will contribute in encouraging children's authors and publishers in regional languages.” said Amrita Patwardhan, Head-Education at Tata Trusts.

“Bengali children’s Literature has a rich heritage. The nomination process demonstrated that the tradition continues to thrive. With an aim to creating a platform for young readers, parents, schools, publishers, and other stakeholders, Parag will associate with various partners to promote the work of these authors and illustrators.” said Swaha Sahoo, Head-Parag Initiative, Tata Trusts.

“The Big Little Book Award is significant and different because it does not award writing in any one language. It is a bridge across languages in India and thus ensures each language is recognised nationally. Bengali has awards at the regional level but this recognition, especially for children's authors comes at a time when a push is needed to the rich, but now stagnating, Bengali children's literature.”, said Gargi Gangopadhyay, jury member.

About Tata Trusts
Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, Tata Trusts is amongst India’s oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organisations that work in several areas of community development. Since its inception, Tata Trusts has played a pioneering role in transforming traditional ideas of philanthropy to make impactful sustainable change in the lives of the communities served. Through direct implementation, co-partnership strategies and grant making, the Trusts support and drive innovation in the areas of education; healthcare and nutrition; rural livelihoods; natural resources management; enhancing civil society and governance and media, arts, crafts and culture. Tata Trusts continue to be guided by the principles of its Founder, Jamsetji Tata and through his vision of proactive philanthropy; the Trusts catalyse societal development while ensuring that initiatives and interventions have a contemporary relevance to the nation.

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Jury Speak About the Shortlisted Authors
Amarendra Chakravorty has worked in a variety of forms in the last few decades including prose and poetry, not restricting himself to any one mode of storytelling. He has continued to reinvent himself, working quietly, and has not overproduced or written according to any formula. In fact, very few of his themes and subjects repeat themselves. – Abhijit Gupta, professor at Jadavpur University.

Kartik Ghosh has a distinctive style attuned to a specific age group - early childhood. His writing is focused on (and circumscribed by) the range of everyday experiences. He plays with an imaginary world, abstract ideas and nature, following only a thin outline of plot in most of his books. He infuses innocence and lightness in his stories by hatching simple plots and keeping them brief. His language is fluent, uncomplicated, and never appears forced or contrived. – Bidisha Ghosh, teacher.

Nabaneeta Deb Sen is remarkable for producing a body of work which treat children not just as children but young adults. She is never patronizing in tone, and her stories deal with a variety of themes which are complex and nuanced. Her characters are fully fleshed and never cardboard cut-outs. Her work is characterized by originality at various levels, a rare intelligence that provokes laughter and reflection, often bordering on the vulnerable. Her writing focuses on exploring interpersonal relationships across several generations and bringing in multiple perspectives. – Rimli Bhattacharya, professor at Delhi University.

Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay marries the mundane with the extra-ordinary with utmost ease, creating a unique fictional space that the reader is drawn into. His incredible sense of humour and unique vision have created a world where the nonsense and the unreal co-exist with the real in perfect harmony. Meeting the motley bunch of Shirshendu-esque characters in any of his innumerable books for children is a treat in itself. Both his arrays of characters, as well as his inimitable humour, are quintessentially Bengali. - Chandril Bhattacharya, poet and author.