Indian novel 'Tomb Of Sand' wins International Booker Prize


By AGENCY

'This is not just about me, the individual. I represent a language and culture and this recognition brings into larger purview the entire world of Hindi literature in particular and Indian literature as a whole,' says Indian writer Geetanjali Shree (right), seated with American translator Daisy Rockwell. Photo: International Booker Prize

Indian writer Geetanjali Shree and American translator Daisy Rockwell won the International Booker Prize on Thursday for Tomb Of Sand, a vibrant novel with a boundary-crossing 80-year-old heroine.

Originally written in Hindi, it’s the first book in any Indian language to win the high-profile award, which recognises fiction from around the world that has been translated into English. The £50,000-pound (RM277,000) prize money will be split between New Delhi-based Shree and Rockwell, who lives in Vermont.

Translator Frank Wynne, who chaired the judging panel, said the judges "overwhelmingly” chose Tomb Of Sand after "a very passionate debate.”

The book tells the story of an octogenarian widow who dares to cast off convention and confront the ghosts of her experiences during the subcontinent’s tumultuous 1947 partition into India and Pakistan.

Wynne said that despite confronting traumatic events, "it is an extraordinarily exuberant and incredibly playful book.”

"It manages to take issues of great seriousness - bereavement, loss, death - and conjure up an extraordinary choir, almost a cacophony, of voices," he said.

Set in northern India, the novel follows the adventures of an 80-year-old woman who unexpectedly gains a new, and highly unconventional, lease of life. Set in northern India, the novel follows the adventures of an 80-year-old woman who unexpectedly gains a new, and highly unconventional, lease of life.

"It is extraordinarily fun and it is extraordinarily funny.”

Shree’s book beat five other finalists including Polish Nobel literature laureate Olga Tokarczuk, Claudia Piñeiro of Argentina and South Korean author Bora Chung to be awarded the prize at a ceremony in London.

The International Booker Prize is awarded every year to a translated work of fiction published in Britain or Ireland. It is run alongside the Booker Prize for English-language fiction.

The prize was set up to boost the profile of fiction in other languages - which accounts for only a small share of books published in Britain - and to salute the often unacknowledged work of literary translators.

Wynne said the prize aimed to show that at "literature in translation is not some form of cod liver oil that is supposed to be good for you.”

Tomb Of Sand is published in Britain by small publisher Tilted Axis Press. It was founded by translator Deborah Smith - who won the 2016 International Booker for translating Han Kang’s The Vegetarian - to publish books from Asia.

The novel has not yet been published in the United States, but Wynne said he expected that to change with "a flurry of offers” after its Booker victory.

In Britain, "I would be gobsmacked if it didn’t increase its sales by more than 1,000% in the next week,” said Wynne. "Possibly more.” - AP

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Culture

After two years, Festa San Pedro returns to Melaka's Portuguese Settlement
Classical music fans rejoice! A bumper concert month awaits in July
Comedian Jimmy O. Yang of 'Crazy Rich Asians’ fame set for KL date in December
Mark your calendar: Japan's Tsutaya Books opens first KL store on July 7
HK's new Palace Museum, a gift from Beijing, aims to engage city's youth
Amid documenta anti-Semitism row, Indonesian art collective apologises
'Ilham Art Show' offers a space for diversity for Malaysian contemporary art
Study: a museum visit has a positive impact on our mood and mental well-being
Stream time: a Bangsawan Shakespeare, KL's Wei-Ling Gallery at 20
Australia's stunning 'Songline' digital exhibit lights up KL's National Art Gallery

Others Also Read