By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 08, Apr 2022, 9:13 am IST | UPDATED: 08, Apr 2022, 9:13 am IST
New Delhi: Author Geetanjali Shree's novel 'Tomb of Sand' on Thursday (April 8) became the first Hindi language work of fiction to be shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. Shree's book, translated into English by Daisy Rockwell and described by the judges as a "loud and irresistible novel", will compete with five other titles from around the world for the prestigious 50,000 pounds literary prize, which is split evenly between the author and translator.
The other five titles on the shortlist announced at the London Book Fair include: 'Cursed Bunny' by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur from Korean; 'A New Name: Septology VI-VII' by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls from Norwegian; 'Heaven' by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Samuel Bett and David Boyd from Japanese; 'Elena Knows' by Claudia Pieiro, translated by Frances Riddle from Spanish; and 'The Books of Jacob' by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft from Polish.
For the first time in 2022, the shortlisted authors and translators will each receive 2,500 pounds, an increase from 1,000 pounds in previous years', bringing the total value of the prize to 80,000 pounds. "The constantly shifting perspectives and timeframes of Geetanjali Shree's inventive, energetic 'Tomb of Sand' lead us into every cranny of an 80-year-old woman's life and surprising past," the judges said of Geetanjali Shree's Hindi novel.
"Daisy Rockwell's spirited translation rises admirably to the complexity of the text, which is full of wordplay and verve. A loud and irresistible novel," they said
Shree, the Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh-born author, whose work has been translated into several languages -- including English, French, German, Serbian, and Korean -- has received and been shortlisted for a number of awards and fellowships. "Tomb of Raid" is one of her first books to be published in the UK. Her translator, Daisy Rockwell, is a painter, writer and translator living in Vermont, US, who has translated a number of classic works of Hindi and Urdu literature.
The story of the novel is set in northern India as an 80-year-old woman slips into a deep depression after the death of her husband, then resurfaces to gain a new lease on life. To her family's consternation, she insists on travelling to Pakistan, simultaneously confronting the unresolved trauma of her teenage experiences of Partition, and re-evaluating what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman, a feminist.
"Rather than respond to tragedy with seriousness, Geetanjali Shree's playful tone and exuberant wordplay results in a book that is engaging, funny, and utterly original, at the same time as being an urgent and timely protest against the destructive impact of borders and boundaries, whether between religions, countries, or genders," the International Booker Prize judges note.
The judging panel is made up of Wynne (chair); author and academic Merve Emre; writer and lawyer Petina Gappah; writer, comedian, and TV, radio and podcast presenter, Viv Groskop; and translator and author Jeremy Tiang. This year the judges considered 135 books, with a record number of submissions received. Complementing the Booker Prize for Fiction, the international prize is awarded every year for a single book that is translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland. The winner for 2022 will be announced at a ceremony in London on May 26.