Big Little Book Award announces call for nomination for 2021

Malayalam chosen as the author category language for the year. Entries open from today till July 9th, 2021

Big Little Book Award announces call for nomination for 2021

Big Little Book Award (BLBA), the first-of-its-kind award by the Parag initiative of Tata Trusts, is all set to open entries for its sixth edition this year. Instituted with an intent to celebrate and recognise notable work in children’s literature, BLBA chooses one language every year for the author category, while the illustrators’ evaluation and selection remains language-agnostic. Malayalam is the chosen language for 2021 and authors with significant contribution are eligible. Nominations are open from today and will continue until July 09, 2021.

Ms. Swaha Sahoo, Head of Parag Initiative, Tata Trusts says, “Recognising and strengthening children’s literature in regional languages is one of the aims of BLBA. With Malayalam as the author language of 2021, we hope to identify authors with a great body of work. Selected work of winners and shortlisted candidates will be translated into other Indian languages in the future, thus enabling children across India to read the best of Malayali children’s literature.”

Paul Zachariah, distinguished Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi and BLBA 2021 jury member, added, "In the BLBA award process, inviting for readers' nominations is an excellent idea. It makes the award process democratic, transparent and inclusive".

The Process - From nominations till winner announcement 

Nomination: One can send in their entries in two ways – 

  1. Fill in the online form and submit directly 

  2. Download the form, fill and email to us at

Self-nomination is not accepted. The award invites public nomination where anyone can nominate. Nomination forms are filled and submitted online only and a maximum of three authors and three illustrators can be nominated by each person.

Selection: After the nomination closes, a longlist is drawn in consultation with the jury members. Publishers are requested for copies of the books of authors and illustrators. Over a period of two or three months, the jury members independently shortlist authors and illustrators. The winners are then chosen by the jury after exhaustive deliberations. 

Winners: After the evaluation process, winners will be announced in December by the Parag Initiative, Tata Trusts.  

This year’s jury for the authors’ category comprises of Greystroke, a veteran writer and illustrator of children’s books for over 25 years, Dr. M. M Basheer recipient of the Kerala Sahitya Parishath Award in 2017 and author of 50 Malayalam books, Paul Zacharia who has published over 50 works of fiction and non-fiction, Sherylene Rafeeque, ex-editorial team member of The English Express, a series of English textbooks for the lower and middle grades in India; and Classic Folktales from Around the World, a 12-volume special edition, and Suneetha Balakrishnan, author of two novellas, one poetry anthology, and five translations including the Malayalam translation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies”. Jury for illustrators include, Aashti Mudnani, illustration lover and founder of Lightroom, a bookstore for children’s books in Bengaluru, Proiti Roy, illustrator and designer with a background in advertising, Rani Dharker, author and artist whose first novel ‘The Virgin Syndrome’ made it to the shortlist for the Commonwealth Prize, Sunandini Banerjee, Senior Editor and Senior Graphic Designer at Seagull Books, and Thejaswi Shivanand, teacher at Center for Learning near Bengaluru and a consultant for library programmes and a faculty at the Library Educators Course (English), run by Bookworm, Goa.

BLBA, since its inception, has awarded distinguished work across Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada and English. Prolific English children’s book writer Ms. Subhadra Sen Gupta, whom we unfortunately lost this year, and Mr. Rajiv Eipe, were the winners of Big Little Book Award, 2020. Erstwhile winners in the author category have included Madhuri Purandare (in Marathi in 2016), Nabaneeta Dev Sen (in Bengali in 2017), Nagesh Hegde (in Kannada in 2018), Prabhat (in Hindi in 2019) along with illustrators, Atanu Roy (2016), Proiti Roy (2017), Nina Sabnani (2018) and Priya Kuriyan (2019). 

BLBA is Parag Initiative’s endeavour to shine the spotlight on authors and illustrators’ literary work that has helped simplify children’s navigation through a multicultural and multilingual environment. Striking a balance between the traditional and the contemporary, these authors and illustrators have given India books that address sensitive topics with the finesse of creative narration coupled with illustrations that are inclusive, humorous and defiant of gender and caste stereotypes. As a platform for young readers, parents, schools, publishers and other stakeholders to congregate and share their love for reading, BLBA also collaborates with literary festivals, children’s bookstores to advocate for literature in Indian languages.