The International Booker Prize (formerly known as the Man Booker International Prize) is an international literary award hosted in the United Kingdom. The introduction of the International Prize to complement the Man Booker Prize was announced in June 2004. Sponsored by the Man Group, from 2005 until 2015 the award was given every two years to a living author of any nationality for a body of work published in English or generally available in English translation. It rewarded one author’s “continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage”, and was a recognition of the writer’s body of work rather than any one title.
Since 2016, the award has been given annually to a single book translated into English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland, with a £50,000 prize for the winning title, shared equally between author and translator.
Crankstart, the charitable foundation of Sir Michael Moritz and his wife, Harriet Heyman began supporting The Booker Prizes on 1 June 2019. From this date, the prizes will be known as The Booker Prize and The International Booker Prize. Of their support for The Booker Prize Foundation and the prizes, Moritz commented: “Neither of us can imagine a day where we don’t spend time reading a book. The Booker Prizes are ways of spreading the word about the insights, discoveries, pleasures and joy that spring from great fiction”.
Who is the Indian author who won the International Booker Prize this time?
The renowned Indian author Geetanjali Shree has won the International Booker Prize this time. Her “extremely exuberant and incredibly playful” Tomb of Sand, translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell, has won the International Booker prize, becoming the first novel translated from Hindi to do so. Shree and Rockwell winning the £50,000 prize – which is split between author and translator equally – not only marks the award’s first Hindi winner, but also the first time a book originally written in any Indian language has won.
The award-winning book narrates the story of an 80-year-old woman who experiences a deep depression after the death of her husband. Eventually, she overcomes her depression and decides to visit Pakistan to finally confront the past that she left behind during the Partition.
Originally published in Hindi as Ret Samadhi, the book is translated into English by Daisy Rockwell.
“I never dreamt of the Booker, I never thought I could. What a huge recognition, I’m amazed, delighted, honoured and humbled. “There is a melancholy satisfaction in the award going to it. ‘Ret Samadhi/Tomb of Sand’ is an elegy for the world we inhabit, a lasting energy that retains hope in the face of impending doom. The Booker will surely take it to many more people than it would have reached otherwise, that should do the book no harm,” said Geetanjali Shree, in her acceptance speech.
Geetanjali winning the International Booker Prize, is a proud moment for the entire nation. This has once again proved that we the Indians can do anything.