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A Milestone for VoW | Shabdavali

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

By: Dr Tania Saili Bakshi

Seventy odd publishers including Hindi and English. Over six hundred books. The Seventh Edition of the Valley of Words, Literature and Art Festival received an overwhelming response for its coveted 2023 VoW Book Awards across eight categories.

The nomination form for this year’s awards was shared on the festival’s website in early January. The last date for filing nominations across eight genres: English and Hindi Fiction, English and Hindi Non-fiction, Translation from Bhashas of Bharat to Hindi and English, as well as Writings for Young Adults and Writings for Children (both being bilingual categories) was set for the 31st of March, 2023.

Over the weeks that followed, the Secretariate was inundated with submissions. The rigorous selection procedure started in April as the VoW Secretariate busied itself in sending out a curated longlist of ten titles in each category to the 2023 jury that brings together people with immense experience from diverse range of backgrounds, art forms and mediums of expression leaving an indelible mark in their chosen field. The jury now had the uphill task of reading, evaluating and finding gems from amongst the longlist selecting a shortlist of five-titles under each category by mid-June. The final winner under each of the eight categories will be announced in early November and felicitated at the festival’s Signature Event in Dehradun.

Talking about this year’s overwhelming submissions, Festival Director Dr Sanjeev Chopra said, "Selecting a shortlist in each of the eight genres - Fiction, non-fiction and translations from Bhashas of Bharat to Hindi and English, besides Writings for Young Adults and Children - is indeed an uphill task, for each year the number of books and the quality of writing is becoming more competitive. VoW would like to thank its Jury members for the painstaking effort undertaken by them in listing out the best works . While this journey was tough, the final selection of narrowing the choice to just one book in the final round will pose a formidable challenge. Meanwhile, we invite readers to savour this selection in the Panikkar National Reading Month .”

While the curated longlist of ten books under eight categories were announced across Valley of Words social media handles starting with Childrens’ Literature on Mother’s Day i.e. 14th of May, the rest of the categories followed suit. Now, together with its knowledge partner, the National Digital Library of India, the Valley of Words|Shabdavali has begun announcing its shortlist across VoW social media handles from 19th of June during the National Reading Month, in honour of P N Panicker, the Father of Library and Literacy Movement in Kerala

In its seventh year running, the literary festival has grown in leaps and bounds creating new milestones along the way. The festivals newest additions: Iti Natya (theatre festival for schools from Dehradun district) and Iti Nritya ( pan-India classical dance competition ) has got phenomenal response. Another highlight of this year is that VoW|Shabdavali has been tasked with supporting the G 20 Literature Festival, being organised by the Auroville Foundation (Ministry of Culture, Government of India) in August this year. The Valley of Words, Literature Festival has become India’s first and finest pan - India festival of the Literature and Arts with knowledge verticals held at New Delhi, Baroda, Haridwar, Kolkatta, Indore, Chennai and of course Dehradun.

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