Geetanjali Shree becomes the first Indian author to win the International Booker Prize

Indian author Geetanjali Shree has won the International Booker Prize, making her the first writer from the South Asian nation to win the prestigious literary prize.

Shree’s winning novel, “Tomb of Sand,” follows an 80-year-old woman as she gains new life after the death of her husband. Set in the shadow of India’s 1947 partition, Shree explores themes of trauma, motherhood and feminism.

Translated from Hindi into English by Daisy Rockwell, the book is the first in Indian language to win the prize, which rewards fiction translated into English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

The International Booker Prize is separate from the Booker Prize, which is awarded to novels written in English. In 1997, Indian author Arundhati Roy became the first Indian to win the Booker Prize for her novel ‘The God of Little Things’.

Shree and American translator Rockwell will split the £50,000 ($63,000) prize.

“I never dreamed of the Booker, I never thought I could,” Shree said during her acceptance speech in London on Thursday. “What immense recognition. I am amazed, delighted, honored and humbled.”

Jury chairman Frank Wynne said the book had “an exuberance and a life, a power and a passion, that the world could use at this time”.

“This is a luminous novel about India and its score, but one whose haunting brilliance and fierce compassion weave youth and age, men and women, family and nation into a kaleidoscopic whole. “Wynne said.

Writer, critic and host, Viv Groskop called it “a true masterclass in storytelling, exploring identity and taking a brilliant look at family relationships”.

Born in 1957 in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Shree has written three novels and several collections of short stories. His work has been translated into English, French, German, Serbian and Korean.

“Tomb of Sand” is the first of his books to be published in the UK.

Rockwell called it “one of the most difficult works” she had ever translated due to the “experimental nature of Geetanjali’s writing” and “unique use of language”.

Shree said his recognition “brings greater significance to the whole world of Hindi literature” and in particular to “Indian literature as a whole”.

“It also highlights the fact that there is a vast world of literature with rich lineages yet to be discovered,” she said in an interview on the Booker Prize website. “I am happy and honored to be the conduit for this.”

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