Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Indian author Aravind Adiga wins Man Booker Prize 2008

Indian author Aravind Adiga wins Man Booker Prize 2008
Aravind Adiga poses for photographers after winning the Man Booker Prize 2008 in London. (Reuters Photo)

India's first time novelist Aravind Adiga on Wednesday won the 50,000 pounds ($87,000) Man Booker Prize 2008 for his novel, The White 

Young Indian writer Aravind Adiga is one of the two first-time novelists on the 2008 Man Booker's shortlist of six. The other is Australia's Steve Toltz. 

Only two other debut novelists have achieved this in the past - D B C Pierre in 2003 for his novel Vernon God Little and India's Arundhati Roy in 1997 for The God of Small Things 

33-year-old Adiga, who wanted to be a novelist since he was a boy, was born in Chennai and now lives in Mumbai. 

The White Tiger is a "compelling, angry and darkly humorous" novel about a man's journey from Indian village life to entrepreneurial success. It was described by reviewers as an "unadorned portrait" of Indian scene "from the bottom of the heap". 

Adiga is the fourth Indian born-author to win the prize, joining compatriots Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai who won the prize in 1981, 1997 and 2006 respectively. 

A fifth winner, V S Naipaul is of Indian ancestry. Adiga's The White Tiger is the ninth winning novel to take its inspiration from India or Indian identity. 

Today's win is a first for publisher Atlantic; although they had books shortlisted for the prize in 2003 with The Good Doctor by Damon Gaigut and in 2004 withBitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor. 

Peter Clarke, Chief Executive of Man Group PLC, presented a cheque of 50,000 pounds to Adiga at a gala dinner in the Guildhall here. 

Michael Portillo, Chair of the judges, said "The judges found the decision difficult because the shortlist contained such strong candidates. In the end, The White Tiger prevailed because the judges felt that it shocked and entertained in equal manner. 

"The novel undertakes the extraordinarily difficult task of gaining and holding the reader's sympathy...dealing with pressing social issues and significant global developments with astonishing humour." 

Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives 2,500 pounds (USD 4,357) and a designer-bound edition of their book. 

The judging panel for the 2008 Man Booker Prize for Fiction comprised: former MP and Cabinet minister Michael Portillo, editor of Granta Alex Clark; novelists Louise Doughty, founder of Ottakar's bookshops James Heneage and Hardeep Singh Kohli, a TV and radio broadcaster.

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