Geetanjali Shree becomes first Indian to win International Booker Prize

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Author Geetanjali Shree has become the first Indian to win the International Booker Prize for her novel, Tomb of Sand, originally written in Hindi, reported Al Jazeera.

The book as per Al Jazeera tells the story of an 80-year-old widow who dares to cast off convention and confront the ghosts of her experiences during the subcontinent’s tumultuous partition into India and Pakistan in 1947.

The novel, originally titled Ret Samadhi, was the first Hindi book to be shortlisted for the high-profile award, which recognises fiction from around the world that has been translated into English.

The 50,000-pound ($63,000) prize money will be split between New Delhi-based Shree and her American translator Daisy Rockwell.

“I never dreamt of the Booker, I never thought I could,” Shree said in an acceptance speech quoted by the Press Trust Of India.

“What a huge recognition. I am amazed, delighted, honoured and humbled.”

She added: “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.”

Translator Frank Wynne, who chaired the judging panel, on Thursday said the judges “overwhelmingly” chose Tomb of Sand after “a very passionate debate”.

Wynne said that despite confronting traumatic events, “it is an extraordinarily exuberant and incredibly playful book”.

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