Geetanjali Shree becomes first Indian winner of International Booker Prize

Her novel Tomb of Sand follows the story of an 80-year-old woman after the death of her husband.
Geetanjali Shree becomes first Indian winner of International Booker Prize (David Cliff/AP)

Geetanjali Shree becomes first Indian winner of International Booker Prize (David Cliff/AP)

By Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Geetanjali Shree has become the first Indian winner of the International Booker Prize for her novel Tomb of Sand.

The book follows the story of an 80-year-old woman after the death of her husband and is set during the partition of India in 1947.

It was the first Hindi-language book to be shortlisted for the £50,000 prize and was translated to English by American translator Daisy Rockwell.

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“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’m amazed, delighted, honoured and humbled.”

She adedd: “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.”

Author Geetanjali Shree delivers her acceptance speech after winning the 2022 International Booker Prize for her novel Tomb of Sand (David Cliff/AP)

Author Geetanjali Shree delivers her acceptance speech after winning the 2022 International Booker Prize for her novel Tomb of Sand (David Cliff/AP)

Frank Wynne, chair of the judges, said he had not read anything like Tomb of Sand before.

“It has an exuberance and a life and a power and a passion that the world could do with right now,” he said.

Announcing the news online, the organisation said: “We are delighted to announce that the winner of the #2022InternationalBooker Prize is Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated from Hindi to English by @shreedaisy and published by @tiltedaxispress.”

Shree beat five other finalists including Polish Nobel literature laureate Olga Tokarczuk, Claudia Piñeiro of Argentina and South Korean author Bora Chung to be awarded the prize at a ceremony in London on Thursday.


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