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KIRAN DESAI WINS PRESTIGIOUS MAN BOOKER LITERARY PRIZE
Sarid staff, October 12, 2006
Kiran Desai won the prestigious Man Booker Prize on Tuesday for "The Inheritance of Loss," an enchanting saga that moves from the Himalayas to New York City. The Booker Prize, which rewards the best book of the year by a writer from Britain, Ireland or a Commonwealth country, was set up in 1969 to reward merit, raise the stature of the author and encourage an interest in contemporary quality fiction.
At 35, Desai is the youngest woman ever to win the $93,000 prize. She is also the first woman to win the Man Booker since 2000 when Margaret Atwood scooped the prize with “The Blind Assassin.”
Desai lived in India until she was 14, when she and her mother -- novelist and three-time Booker Prize nominee Anita Desai -- moved to the UK and then to the US, where she has lived ever since.
“To my mother, I owe a debt so profound and so great that this book feels as much hers as it does mine,” Desai said at the awards dinner at the Guildhall, London. “It was written in her company and in her witness and in her kindness.”
Desai’s Her first novel, "Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard," was published in 1998. It won her the Betty Trask Award, a prize given by the Society of Authors for the best new novels by citizens of the Commonwealth of Nations under the age of 35.
“The Inheritance of Loss” tells the story of an embittered judge who wants to retire in peace in his crumbling house in the Himalayas and whose life is turned upside down with the arrival of his granddaughter. This work, which took Desai eight years to complete, has been widely praised by critics throughout Asia, Europe and the United States. It has been described by reviewers as the best, sweetest, most delightful novel.
Chair of the judges, Hermione Lee, made the announcement, which was broadcast live on the BBC 10 O’ Clock News. “The Inheritance of Loss,” Lee noted, is “a magnificent novel of humane breadth and wisdom, comic tenderness and powerful political acuteness. The winner was chosen, after a long, passionate and generous debate, from a shortlist of five other strong and original voices.”
The judging panel for the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was: Hermione Lee (Chair), biographer, academic and reviewer; Simon Armitage, poet and novelist; Candia McWilliam, award-winning novelist; critic Anthony Quinn; and actor Fiona Shaw.
The Inheritance of Loss (Paperback), 384 pages
Published by Hamish Hamilton
(Sarid, October 12, 2006)