Geetanjali Shree’s Hindi novel has been short-listed in this year’s Booker Prize

Indian writer Geetanjali Shree’s novel ‘Tomb of Sand’ – translated from her Hindi novel ‘Ret Samadhi’ by Daisy Rockwell, has made it to this year’s short-list for Booker Prize.

Geetanjali Shree is originally from Uttar Pradesh, and is an author of three novels and several story collections. Her work has been translated into English, French, German, Serbian, and Korean.

The 64-year-old author now lives in New Delhi. She has received a number of awards and fellowships. Tomb of Sand is one of her first books to be published in the UK.

Says Geetanjali on hearing the news, “Nothing less than wonderful, and with each passing moment yet more wonderful. For bit by bit it dawns better on me what a fine recognition this is. And greater exposure for my work. Even if the Booker focus is on the English translation it willy-nilly casts a light on all my work, in the original and in other language translations.

“This is not just about me, the individual. I represent a language and culture and this recognition brings into larger purview the entire world of Hindi literature in particular and Indian literature as a whole. It also brings into view the fact that there is a vast world of literature with rich lineages which still needs to be discovered. I am pleased and humbled to be the conduit for this.”

Tomb of Sand is set in northern India, when the protagonist, an 80-year-old woman, slips into a deep depression after her husband’s demise. She then resurfaces to gain a new lease on life.

She travels 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, according to PTI.

The judges considered 135 books this year, before shortlisting the six.

The other five books that made it to the list are Cursed Bunny, written by Bora Chung and translated by Anton Hur from Korean, A New Name: Septology VI-VII, written by Jon Fosse and translated by Damion Searls from Norwegian; Heaven written by Mieko Kawakami and translated by Samuel Bett and David Boyd from Japanese, Elena Knows, written by Claudia Piñeiro and translated by Frances Riddle from Spanish, and The Books of Jacob, written by Olga Tokarczuk and translated by Jennifer Croft from Polish.

The six shortlisted novels announced are works each translated from a different language and originate from a different country, with three continents represented on the list.

Irish translator and writer, Frank Wynne is chairing the judging panel this year. He noted that selecting from many extraordinary books has been difficult and heartbreaking. “The six titles from six languages explore the borders and boundaries of human experience, whether haunting and surreal, poignant and tender or exuberant and capricious.”

The winner of the International Booker Prize 2022 will be announced at a ceremony in London, on May 26. The prize money of £50,000 is equally divided between the author and the translator.

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