Booker glory beckons Amitav Ghosh

GHOSH_2351489fThe Booker glory beckons Indian novelist and essayist Amitav Ghosh yet again. Having narrowly missed the Anglophone world’s most coveted literary honour in 2008, the 58-year-old author has been nominated for Man Booker International Prize 2015 for his immense contribution to the art of writing fiction.

Ghosh is probably the best known writer internationally to have made the shortlist, which has nine other finalists: Cesar Aira (Argentina), Hoda Barakat (Lebanon), Maryse Conde, (Guadeloupe), Mia Couto (Mozambique), Fanny Howe (US), Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya), Laszlo Krasznahorkai (Hungary), Alain Mabanckou (Republic of Congo) and Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa).

The winner is chosen entirely at the discretion of the judging panel, and there are no submissions from publishers. “This is a most interesting and enlightening list of finalists. It brings attention to writers from far and wide, so many of whom are in translation,” said Jonathan Taylor, the chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation.

Ghosh is seen by many literary critics as one of the finest Indian authors writing in English and has been richly lauded for his experimental oeuvre that includes The Circle of Reason (his 1986 debut novel), The Shadow Lines (1988), The Calcutta Chromosome (1995), The Glass Palace (2000), The Hungry Tide (2004), and Sea of Poppies (2008), the first volume of The Ibis trilogy, set in the 1830s, just before the onset of the Opium War, which dramatizes the colonial history of the East.

River of Smoke (2011), the second volume of The Ibis trilogy, is typical of Ghosh’s new fiction which weaves history, geopolitics, philosophy and psychological explorations of characters caught in the cross-currents of cultures in a globalizing world.

The Booker Prize is given once in every two year to the living author who has published his work either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language. The Booker award ceremony will be held on May 19 in London. The much-coveted comes with £60, 000 cheque and can be won just once in an author’s lifetime.

So far, four Indians/Indian-origin authors have won the Booker Prize: Salman Rushdie for Midnight’s Children in 1981; Arundhati Roy for The God of Small Things in 1997; Kiran Desai for The Inheritance of Loss in 2006; and Aravind Adiga for The White Tiger in 2009.

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