27th January 2020
The JCB Literature Foundation announces an initiative for the visually impaired

The JCB Literature Foundation announced an initiative to make books shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature more accessible to the visually impaired. In its second year of successfully running India’s richest literary prize, the JCB Prize for Literature, the JCB Literature Foundation, which was established as a CSR initiative by the Delhi-based construction equipment manufacturer JCB India, has made significant progress in fulfilling its ambition to create an enduring cultural legacy in the country.

This initiative is an extension of the Foundation’s core objective to increase the readership of Indian books within India by making literature more accessible and inclusive, particularly among vulnerable communities and groups across the country.

As part of this important initiative, the Foundation is working with Sugamaya Pustakalya, India’s first and largest collection of accessible books, to make books that were shortlisted for the 2019 JCB Prize for Literature available as e-books for free download by the visually impaired community. For the first time ever, these shortlisted books will be accessible to those with a wide spectrum of visual impairment. Furthermore, the e-books will be made available to international libraries for visually impaired communities in other countries.

The Foundation has also partnered with Access for All to create a physical Braille copy of the 2019 JCB Prize for Literature winner, Madhuri Vijay’s The Far Field. Copies of the book, which will come with a tactile cover, thus providing a complete user experience for the visually impaired, will be donated to Braille libraries across the country.

One of the key initiatives of the Foundation, the JCB Prize for Literature was set up in 2018 to enhance the prestige of literary achievement in India and create greater visibility for contemporary Indian writing. The prize encourages translations and aims to introduce new audiences to works of Indian literature written in languages other than their own.

Mita Kapur, Literary Director commented, “By converting the JCB Literature Prize shortlist into Braille, we take a small step towards making the best of Indian contemporary fiction, in English and in translation, accessible to all. The hope is to encourage the publishing industry to adopt inclusivity as a guiding principle and to facilitate print-disabled people to create, share and read excellent Indian writing.

Image: Siddhant Shah, founder of Access for All and Mita Kapur, writer and Literary Director of the JCB Prize for Literature with the Braille copy of Madhuri Vijay’s ‘The Far Field’