INDIA: Speaking Tiger title Tales from the Tail End: My Cancer Diary by Ananya Mukherjee has been longlisted for the Tata Literature Live! Awards 2020 in the Best First Book Non-fiction category.
“Ananya always had a brilliant mind and a way with words that could make you laugh and cry at the same time. This nomination by Tata Literature Live is a proud moment for all of us. Wish she was here, but happy that her words are now immortal”, said Shantanu Bhasin, the late author’s husband.
When she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, she was stunned and disappointed in herself but quickly found her resolve. ‘I chose to fight cheerfully… with a deep belief and faith that I’d be okay,’ wrote Ananya Mukherjee. Tragically, and for perhaps the first time in her life, her will could not overcome circumstances, and she lost the fight on 18 November 2018. But she left behind a host of memories for those who knew her, and a beautiful legacy for the world—an intimate and inspiring diary of her ‘cheerful fight’.
It is a book that makes light of the darker moments of cancer (comparing her balding head to the disheveled crow on her windowsill); gives practical advice on gifts to bring a cancer patient (piping hot machcher jhol along with a good story or two); and gives an insight into what cancer patients dream of (a road trip to Jaisalmer and a gondola ride in Venice).
Tales from the Tail End is a book of hope, courage, even sunshine—not only for those living with cancer, and their caregivers and loved ones, but for anyone determined to live life on her or his own terms despite adversity. The illustrations by Peeyush Sekhsaria are a delightful accompaniment to the text.
Ananya Mukherjee spent her childhood in Nagpur and Delhi, where she went to college. She did her Masters in Mass Communication from Symbiosis College, Pune, and was a batch topper. She went on to get her Masters in Journalism from the University of Wollongong, Australia. In her professional career of seventeen years, she worked with several reputed PR agencies and corporate houses, including Corporate Voice, Good Relations, Ingersoll Rand and the Dalmia Bharat Group.
Tata Literature Live! is Mumbai’s largest international literary festival and one of the highlights of the festival is the conferring of its prestigious literary awards for Fiction, Non- Fiction and Business books published during the year. The Tata Literature Live! Awards seek to recognise and encourage literary talent across genres, for both established and new writers. The eminent jury consists of Prof Jonathan Gil Harris, Manu Pillai, Meena Menon, Naresh Fernandes, Anil Dharker; Prof Ashwani Kumar, Keki N. Daruwalla, Madhavi Menon, Shashi Baliga among others.
Since the Festival is fully online this year due to the prevailing pandemic, the winners will be announced in a virtual session to be held on Sunday, 22 November. As has been the tradition, the Awards Ceremony will close the Festival.