We’re back with our annual round-up of book covers we loved in 2023. As with our last list, we shortlisted covers that immediately communicated the emotion the author intended to evoke. The list is in alphabetical order.
This is the perfect book to start our list with. For Now It Is Night is a collection of one of Kashmir’s most celebrated authors. Bringing Hari Krishna Kaul’s work to English readers for the first time, a team of translators have worked together on a masterful collaborative effort. The cover art by Nilima Sheikh and design by Amit Malhotra, capture Kaul’s multi-layered, nuanced storytelling as he portrays the subtleties of a society struggling with political, cultural and class tension.
From Makaras to Manticores is authored by C.G. Salamander and illustrated by Sheena Deviah. It is a comprehensive encyclopedia of mythical creatures from diverse cultures around the world, from the Makara of Hindu mythology, to the Manticore of Persian legend, detailing their origins, characteristics, and cultural significance. The cover design by Deviah does full justice to the mystical essence of the book’s subject matter.
Set between Africa, America and Pakistan, Heart Tantrums and Brain Tumours is a memoir by Aisha Sarwari. After Sarwari marries Yasser, a Pakistani law student, they return to Pakistan only to found that Yasser has a brain tumour. Are his violent outbursts caused by the tumour, or are they part of a larger, entrenched, misogynistic landscape? Wasim Helal’s cover captures Sarwari’s conflict both internal and external, as she fights for and with the man she loves.
Salman Rushdie‘s memoir, Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder, will be published on April 16, 2024. The minimalist, but brutally evocative book cover, designed by Arsh Riazuddin, has already caused a sensation on the Internet when it was released in October this year.
In Sakina’s Kiss by Vivek Shanbhag, translated by Srinath Perur, the protagonist Venkat’s ordinary life is disrupted by a mysterious visit by two strangers who know his daughter. The cover by Aakriti Khurana is a graphic expression of the taut narrative that reveals layers of family secrets over an intense four-day period.
Sohini Chattopadhyay’s The Day I Became a Runner, celebrates the stories of Indian women in sports, focusing on runners. The book cover designed by Saurav Das depicts the central theme of the book: How running, a lone yet conspicuously public endeavour, challenges traditional views in a patriarchal society.
Abhishek Anicca’s The Grammar of My Body is a candid exploration of living with a disability in India, offering honest reflections on personal experiences of love, life and the quest for dignity in the face of societal indifference. We like the bold cover, designed by Neeraj Nath, which communicates that this is not another trope of a disabled, inspirational underdog. Photograph by Edgar on Unsplash.
In The Indian Cat, the late art historian B.N. Goswamy presents an intriguing exploration of cats in Indian culture, from their spiritual symbolism to their presence in daily life. The cover with its quirky, meditative cat, illustrated by Jana Kulmatycka, is perfect for this book so rich in art, literature and folklore.
Did we miss a book cover that should have been on this list? Tell us in the comments.