India's Aravind Adiga wins
Booker for debut novel
Delhi/London/Sydney, Oct 15 (IANS) India's Aravind Adiga was
the toast of the literary world Wednesday after he won the
prestigious Man Booker Prize at a glittering ceremony in London
for his debut novel "The White Tiger", set against
the backdrop of India's growing wealth gap.
33-year-old former journalist, who defied odds and beat hot
favourite Sebastian Barry, took home the 50,000-pound ($47,000)
prize -- becoming the third debutant to win the award in its
40-year-history and the fifth Indian-origin author to win
book - which judges felt "shocked and entertained in
equal measure" - is the story of Balram Halwai, a village
boy who becomes an entrepreneur through villainous means.
novel, aimed to highlight the needs of India's poor, was described
by one reviewer as an "unadorned portrait" of India
seen "from the bottom of the heap".
accolades poured in thick and fast, Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh too congratulated Adiga: УI join the people of this
country in celebrating this international recognition of your
Mumbai-based author had been given odds of 7/1 before the
ceremony by bookmakers William Hill. Irish writer Barry had
been tipped to take the prize at 7/4. The bookmakers' favourite
has not won since Yann Martel in 2002 for "Life of Pi".
in Chennai and raised partly in Australia, Adiga, who always
wanted to be a novelist since he was a boy, studied at Columbia
and Oxford Universities and was a former correspondent for
TIME magazine in India based out of Delhi.
who beat off competition from five other authors, including
fellow Indian Amitav Ghosh, nominated for his "Sea of
Poppies", dedicated the prize to New Delhi where he has
lived for many years.
a city that I love and a city that's going to determine India's
future and the future of a large part of the world. It's a
book about Delhi, so I dedicate it to the people that made
it happen," he said.
is a fact that for most of the poor people in India there
are only two ways to go up - either through crime or through
politics, which can be a variant of crime," Adiga told
people at the bottom have the same aspirations as the middle
class - to make it in life, to become businessmen, to create
business empires. They need to be given their legitimate needs
- the schooling, the education, the health care - to achieve
those dreams. If not, as I said, there are only two ways up:
crime or politics."
home, his alma mater St. Aloysius High School in Karnataka's
coastal city of Mangalore, where he was a top-ranking student,
invited him on Oct 18.
are extremely happy. We congratulated him Wednesday morning
as soon we learnt he has been chosen for the award. We hope
he will make it to the Oct 18 meeting so that we can honour
him," Fr. Denzil Lobo, a former Aloysian who now teaches
there, told IANS on telephone from Mangalore.
was a quiet student. Well disciplined and among the best in
his class," recalled Sambu Shetty, who was assistant
head master of the school when Adiga was a high school student
in the late 1980s.
and teachers at the James Ruse Agricultural High in north-west
Sydney, Adiga's other alma mater, also celebrated.
are very proud of Adiga's wonderful achievement. It is amazing
for someone so young at 34 to receive one of the highest awards
in literature. It reinforces the view of our school as a wonderful
place of learning," James Ruse principal Larissa Treskin
joined James Ruse school in 1992 half way through Class 10
and topped the New South Wales (NSW) state in the Class 12
ancient history exam.
Bhushan, marketing manager of Harper Collins Publishers, said
there would be a grand welcome for Adiga in Delhi.
will be going to the Frankfurt book fair and then come back
to Delhi,Ф she said.
other shortlisted authors were Amitav Ghosh ("Sea of
Poppies"), Steve Toltz of Australia ("A Fraction
of the Whole"), Sebastian Barry of Ireland ("The
Secret Scripture"), and British writers Linda Grant and
Philip Hensher ("The Clothes on Their Backs" and
"The Northern Clemency" respectively).
origin authors to win the Booker Prize before him are V.S.
Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai.