Talk of surprise wins! At the Crossword Book Awards ceremony last Thursday in Mumbai, no one was surprised when Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies won. Ghosh even walked up to the stage in a triumphal burst of music and accepted the award from Nayantara Sahgal, before it was discovered that there was another winner this year in the fiction category—London critic Neel Mukherjee’s debut novel, Past Continuous. The book sold a modest 1,600 in hardback, and it’s just gone into paperback with an equally modest print run of 3,000. The other winners are: Basharat Peer for Curfewed Nights (Non-fiction), Ira Pande (for translating T’ta Professor), and Pallavi Aiyar (Smoke and Mirrors).