The Whiting Creative Non-fiction Grant of $40,000 is awarded to writers in the process of completing a book of deeply researched and imaginatively composed non-fiction intended to encourage original and ambitious projects by giving recipients the additional means to do exacting research and devote time to composition.
The grant jury commended Kapur’s book, ‘Better to Have Gone’, for being “a moving fusion of memoir, history, and ethnography that will inject new life into these forms”.
“As an investigation into an unsolved mystery, it is compelling; as a meditation on the promise and the limitations of utopianism, it could have global resonance,” they added. “The writing is unornamented, plangent, and affecting. By evoking the everyday in precise detail, Kapur brings utopianism as lived practice to technicolor life. In attempting to locate the shifting border between extremism and idealism, he has written a book rooted in memory but in dialogue with the present day,” the jury stated.
Mr. Kapur is the author of India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India (Riverhead); the editor of an anthology Auroville: Dream and Reality (Penguin India); and the former Letter from India columnist for the International New York Times.
The other writers who will receive the grant are Jennifer Block, Andrea Elliott, Jori Lewis, writer and musician Sarah Ramey and writer Jess Row.