Kiran Desai wins Booker Prize

Thread started by raagadevan on 12th October 2006 07:01 AM

Indian author Kiran Desai wins famed Booker Prize

Wed, October 11, 2006

LONDON -- Indian writer Kiran Desai won Britain's prestigious Man Booker Prize yesterday for The Inheritance of Loss, a cross-continental saga that moves from the Himalayas to New York City.

Desai, daughter of novelist and three-time Booker Prize nominee Anita Desai, had been one of the favourites for the L50,000 (C$107,000) prize.

"To my mother, I owe a debt so profound and so great that this book feels as much hers as it does mine," Desai said as she accepted her award. "It was written in her company and in her witness and in her kindness."

Judges deliberated for two hours before making their decision, hailing Desai's work as "a magnificent novel of humane breadth and wisdom, comic tenderness and powerful political acuteness."

"The remarkable thing about Kiran Desai is that she is aware of her Anglo-Indian inheritance -- of (V.S.) Naipaul and (R.K.) Narayan and (Salman) Rushdie -- but she does something pioneering," said Hermione Lee, chairperson of the judges.

"She seems to jump on from those traditions and create something which is absolutely of its own. The book is movingly strong in its humanity and I think that, in the end, is why it won."

The 35-year-old held off the challenges of five other nominees, including favourite Sarah Waters and her novel The Night Watch, a story of love and loss during the Second World War.

The other finalists were In the Country of Men, Hisham Matar's semi-autobiographical first novel about childhood in Moammar Gadhafi's Libya; The Secret River, Kate Grenville's tale of life in a 19th-century Australian penal colony; Carry Me Down, the story of an unusual boy by Irish-Australian novelist M. J. Hyland; and Mother's Milk, a portrait of a rich but dysfunctional family by English writer Edward St. Aubyn.

Desai, educated in India, England and the United States, published her first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, in 1998. The Inheritance of Loss is her second book.


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