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Geetanjali Shree: The Indian author to win International Booker Prize for Hindi novel ‘Tomb of Sand’

Talking about becoming the first work of fiction in Hindi to make the Booker cut, Geetanjali stated that it feels good to be the means of that happening. 

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Geetanjali Shree
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New Delhi: Geetanjali Shree, the Hindi novelist has scripted history by being the first Indian to get nominated and win the most prestigious International Booker Prize for her novel ‘Tomb of Sand.’ Originally, published in Hindi as Ret Samadhi, the book is translated into English by Daisy Rockwell.

The 64-year-old author hails from Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh. She has authored three novels and several story collections. Besides, her work has been translated into several languages including English, French, German, Serbian, and Korean, and has received and been shortlisted for several awards and fellowships. ‘Tomb of Sand’ is one of her first books to be published in the UK.

Talking about becoming the first work of fiction in Hindi to make the Booker cut, Geetanjali stated that it feels good to be the means of that happening. 

“But behind me and this book lies a rich and flourishing literary tradition in Hindi, and in other South Asian languages. World literature will be the richer for knowing some of the finest writers in these languages. The vocabulary of life will increase from such an interaction,” she said.

Shree’s book was translated into English by Daily Rockwell who is a painter, writer, and translator. The book was described by the judges as a “loud and irresistible novel” and competed with five other titles from the world for the prestigious 50,000 pounds literary prize.

At a ceremony held in London on Thursday (May 27), Geetanjali said that she was “completely overwhelmed” with the “bolt from the blue,” accepting her prize worth GBP 50,000 and shared it with the book’s English translator, Daisy Rockwell.

“I never dreamt of the Booker, I never thought I could. What a huge recognition, I’m amazed, delighted, honoured and humbled,” said Shree, in her acceptance speech. “There is a melancholy satisfaction in the award going to it.” 

Geetanjali Shree

Tomb of Sand: Plot of the Novel

The story is set in the backdrop of northern India as an 80-year-old woman goes into depression after the death of her husband. Gradually, she resurfaces to gain a new lease on life. Against her family’s will, she insists on travelling to Pakistan, simultaneously confronting the unresolved trauma of her teenage experiences of the India-Pakistan partition. And thus re-evaluating what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman, a feminist.

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