Indian poet wins major literary prize for debut collection

An Indian poet has been named the winner of a major literary prize. Sohini Basak, of Barrackpore, has been named the winner of the 2016 Beverly Series for her debut collection of poetry, We Live in the Newness of Small Differences.

The 2016 Beverley Series was open to original manuscripts in any genre by any writer working in the English language. The series received a wide range of submissions from writers both emerging and established, in over thirteen countries, writing memoir, poetry, short stories, novels, and experimental forms. Kelly Davio, Eyewear’s Senior Editor and the final judge for the 2016 Beverly Series, selected We Live in the Newness of Small Differences from a pool of fourteen finalists determined by Eyewear’s editorial team of judges, Oliver Jones, Rosanna Hildyard, and Todd Swift.

‘With such a range of worthy manuscripts from which to select, I had a challenging job in selecting a winner for The Beverly Series,’ Davio said. ‘Ultimately, I had to rely on what surprised me, what delighted me, what made me forget that I was judging a competition and allowed me to immerse myself in a fully realized work. Sohini Basak’s We Live in the Newness of Small Differences is all of those things. It’s an impressive collection with a controlled voice, an attention to musicality, a beautiful execution of the craft, and a playful sense of the elasticity and possibility of the line. I have no doubt that this book’s publication will mark the emergence of a powerful new voice in the poetry world, and I’m proud that we at Eyewear have the opportunity to bring this work to the reading public.’

Basak’s poetry and fiction have appeared in journals including 3: AM Magazine, Out of Print, Suburban Review, Missing Slate, Ambit, Lighthouse, Ofi Press, Helter Skelter, and Paris Lit Up, as well as in print anthologies of Emma Press and Poetrywala. She won second prize at the inaugural RædLeaf India Poetry Prize in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Melita Hume and the Jane Martin poetry prizes in 2014. She was a 2015-2016 fellow of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective.

Basak studied literature and creative writing at the universities of Delhi, Warwick, and East Anglia, where she was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury continuation grant for poetry. She is a social media manager for the translation journal Asymptote. She grew up in Barrackpore and currently lives in Delhi.

Eyewear will publish We Live in the Newness of Small Differences in January of 2018.