'Sense of responsibility toward literature': Booker Prize winner Geetanjali Shree
Geetanjali Shree, who won the prestigious International Booker Prize on Thursday for her novel Tomb of Sand, expressed happiness and said she feels a sense of responsibility toward herself and literature. She received the prize at a special ceremony in London. Daisy Rockwell, who translated Shree's Hindi work Ret Samadhi into English as Tomb of Sand, shared the honor with her.
- Every year, the International Booker Prize is given to a translated fictional work published in the United Kingdom or Ireland and runs concurrently with the Booker Prize for English-language fiction.
- The novel, originally written in Hindi, winning the renowned award this year is considered a significant moment for the indigenous literature market in India.
"It (award) is a recognition of the Hindi language and literature and it also points to the fact that there is a whole literature out there that needs to be discovered," Shree told India Today. Tomb of Sand is the first novel written in any Indian language to win an International Booker Prize and also the first novel translation recognized by the award.
"I never dreamt of the Booker...never thought I could. What a huge recognition, I am amazed, delighted, honored, and humbled," said Shree, in her acceptance speech. "There is a melancholy satisfaction in the award going to it. Tomb of Sand is elegy for the world we inhabit... The Booker will surely take it to many people than it would've reached otherwise," she said.
Tomb of Sand, originally titled Ret Samadhi, is set in northern India and follows an 80-year-old woman in a story described by the Booker judges as a "joyous cacophony" and "an irresistible novel". The novel is about an octogenarian widow who defies convention by confronting the specters of her life experiences during the subcontinent's turbulent partition of 1947.
The original Hindi novel was published by Rajkamal Prakashan. The publication's owner was also present during the ceremony. A Hindi novel winning the Booker Prize, according to Ashok Maheshwari, the MD of the publishing house, is a source of pride for the Indian literary community and the publication. "The attention of the world is rapidly going towards excellent writings in Indian languages," he added.