Sunday, February 5, 2023

First novel translated from Hindi wins International Booker prize

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, Geetanjali Shree said she was “completely overwhelmed” with the “bolt from the blue” as she accepted her prize, worth GBP 50,000 and shared with the book’s English translator, Daisy Rockwell.

‘Tomb of Sand’, originally ‘Ret Samadhi’, is set in northern India and follows an 80-year-old woman in a tale the Booker judges dubbed a “joyous cacophony” and an “irresistible novel”.

In her acceptance speech, quoted by the Press Trust of India, the New Delhi-based writer said being the first book in Hindi to win the prize felt good.

“Behind me and this book lies a rich and flourishing literary tradition in Hindi, and in other South Asian languages. World literature will be the richer for knowing some of the finest writers in these languages,” Geetanjali Shree said.

The International Booker Prize is awarded every year for a book that is translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.

Geetanjali Shree’s 725-page novel competed against five other shortlisted titles, by Mieko Kawakami, Bora Chung, Jon Fosse, Claudia Pineiro and former winner Olga Tokarczuk.

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