Hindi Novel Bags Booker Prize 2022 - Vibes Of India

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Hindi Novel Bags Booker Prize 2022

| Updated: May 27, 2022 09:08

Author Geetanjali Shree’s Hindi novel “Tomb of Sand” has become the first book in any Indian language to win the prestigious International Booker Prize. At a ceremony in London on Thursday, the New Delhi-based writer said she was “completely overwhelmed” with the “bolt from the blue” as she accepted her prize, worth £50,000 and shared with the book’s English translator, Daisy Rockwell.

“Tomb of Sand,” originally Ret Samadhi, is set in north India and follows an 80-year-old woman’s journey to Pakistan, simultaneously confronting the unresolved trauma of her teenage experiences of Partition, and re-evaluating what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman, a feminist.

“I never dreamt of the Booker, I never thought I could. What a huge recognition, I’m amazed, delighted, honoured and humbled,” said the 64-year-old author in her acceptance speech. Rockwell, a painter, writer and translator living in Vermont, US, joined her on stage to receive her award for translating the novel she described as a “love letter to the Hindi language”.

The Booker jury were impressed that rather than respond to tragedy with seriousness, Ms Shree’s playful tone and exuberant wordplay results in a book that is “engaging, funny, and utterly original.” At the same time, the author was lauded for her protest against the destructive impact of borders and boundaries, whether between religions, countries, or genders.

Originally published in Hindi in 2018, “Tomb of Sand” is the first of her books to be published in the UK in English by Tilted Axis Press in August 2021. An author of three novels and several story collections, Mainpuri-born Shree has translated her works into English, French, German, Serbian, and Korean.

Ms Shree’s novel was chosen from a shortlist of six books, the others being: “Cursed Bunny” by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur from Korean; “A New Name: Septology VI-VII” by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls from Norwegian; “Heaven” by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Samuel Bett and David Boyd from Japanese; “Elena Knows” by Claudia Piñeiro, translated by Frances Riddle from Spanish; and “The Books of Jacob” by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft from Polish.

This year the judges considered 135 books and for the first time in 2022, all shortlisted authors and translators will each receive £2,500, increased from £1,000 in previous years – bringing the total value of the prize to £80,000.

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