It gives me great pleasure to put this newsletter to the original use to which it was intended: fanfare. In April we learned that Fifty Two is an honoree at the 2022 Webby awards: in other words, it’s been officially chosen as one of the most beautiful websites of the year at the equivalent of the internet’s Oscars. We owe it to our friends at 3 Sided Coin, who designed it; to Akshaya Zachariah, who designs our illustrations every week; and to Saul and team Tiger Digital, the immortal hand/eye that framed its fearful symmetry. I should additionally emphasise that my co-founder Gaurav is the one with taste.
If you missed all sporadic editions of this newsletter over the last year and a half, Fifty Two is a publication that puts out one long work of journalism from or about the Indian subcontinent every week. We’ve been going for a year and a quarter now, over which some of our stories have won other national and international awards.
Also in April, Monica Jha won third prize at the Fetisov Journalism Awards in the category “Contribution to Civil Rights,” for her story “The Testimony”. This came out in May 2021, and starts with a group of boys from Bihar who hoodwinked their traffickers and fled a bangle factory in Jaipur. Then it goes back to Bihar to recreate the story of how these boys and their mothers pulled off an even rarer victory: by taking their trafficker to court and winning. It’s an extraordinary story.
Also in April, Monika Mondal was longlisted for a One World Media award for environmental reporting. Her story, “Troops,” came out in July last year. It’s her version of the man-monkey story that used to be a rite of passage for Western foreign correspondents passing through Delhi in simpler times—and also something quite different, as you might expect.
Previously in our short life, Bhavya Dore’s “Collision,” our inaugural story, won a Red Ink press award in the “Science and Innovation” category, and an ASJA award in the “Technology” reporting category. And Aathira Perinchery’s “Succession,” a story about how and why the Western Ghats are practically exploding with newly discovered frog species, won gold at the AAAS-Kavli Science Journalism awards.
If you’ve been supporting us all this while: thanks for your support. If you haven’t, then it’s not too late. You can sign up for our (unobtrusive) newsletter or follow us on Twitter or Instagram where we try to keep you informed and entertained, braving algorithms that don’t at all like the fact that we don’t have 30 things to post in a day. Write me an email if you want to do business with us.
I have a number of amusing stories about myself to tell. But instead of diluting the message I will do some more self-promotion. I wrote a review, published this weekend in Scroll. It’s about Parvati Sharma’s new book, Akbar of Hindustan. It gave me great pleasure to write something for publication after a while, particularly since I loved Parvati’s previous book, Jahangir. (Some other writing on the period: a review of Ira Mukhoty’s Daughters Of The Sun, a history of Mughal women; and a column about Richard Eaton’s India In The Persianate Age, 1000-1765.)
Eid mubarak, and may your May be rife with darling buds.