Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.
I’m delighted to announce to my readers that I’ve been nominated for the 2007 Bastiat Prize for Journalism. I’m the only writer from Asia to make the final shortlist of six. The prize aims to honour writers “whose work cleverly and wittily promotes the institutions of the free society,” and is named after the great French philosopher and essayist, Frédéric Bastiat.
Previous prize winners include luminaries such as Amity Shlaes (joint winner, 2002), Robert Pollock (runner-up, 2002), Brian Carney (winner, 2003), Robert Guest (winner, 2004), John Stossel (runner-up, 2004), Mary Anastasia O’Grady (winner, 2005), and Tim Harford (joint winner, 2006). My fellow nominees this year are also a distinguished lot: They include Clive Crook, Jonah Goldberg and Dominic Lawson. If I was a bookmaker, I’d offer odds of 100 to 1 on me winning. I’m delighted to just be on that list!
I had to enter three pieces of mine, and after much thought, the ones I entered were:
Regular readers of this blog will no doubt know that Frédéric Bastiat is one of my intellectual heroes. I’ll take this opportunity to link you again to two of my favourite works by Bastiat: his magnificent essay, “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen”; and his satire on protectionism “Candlemakers’ Petition” (pdf link).
You can download the shortlisted entries of previous years from this page. Most of it is quite wonderful.
And thank you for reading me all this time. If you didn’t keep reading me, I’d have given up blogging long ago, and it’s India Uncut that brought me to the attention of Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, the editorial pages editor of Mint, who would never have heard of me or seen my writing otherwise. He took a big chance by offering me a weekly column to write, and then the freedom to shape it as I pleased. This whole thing began as a labour of love, and I’ll beat myself on the head with a candlestick, in baffled delight, if it leads to profit.
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