Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka wins Booker Prize 2022

Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka won the 2022 Book Award for her novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida.

His writer was praised by the judges for the “range and skill, boldness, boldness and fun” of his second novel.

The book, published by independent press Sort of Books, is a dark murder mystery manga set in Colombo in 1990 during the Sri Lankan Civil War.

However, we’re all winners for being part of this great shortlist, maybe I could pocket some extra cash if that’s okay?Shehan Karunatilaka

It follows Maali Almeida, a war photographer, gambler and homosexual as he tries to find out who killed him in the seven moons.

Accepting the award, Karunatilaka called the shortlist “spectacular” and said it was “an honor and privilege” to be nominated.

“I am a fan of all your books and your fans,” he said.

“And it doesn’t make sense to cliché, we’re all winners for being part of this great shortlist, maybe I can pocket some extra cash if that’s okay?”

He thanked his publishers for taking on his “strange and difficult and strange” book, and his first-time readers for “too many messy, horror drafts” terrible”.

Karunatilaka added: “My hope for the Seven Moons is this; that in the not-too-distant future, 10 years, that much time, SriLanka… understood that these ideas of corruption, racial swindle and cronyism didn’t work and never will. fruit.

“I hope it will be in print in 10 years but if it does, I hope it is written in (a) Sri Lanka learns from its stories, and Seven Moons will be in the fantasy section of the bookstore… besides dragons, unicorns (and) will not be confused with realism or political satire”.

Karunatilaka, who was born in Galle and raised in Colombo, has said that Sri Lankans “specialize in hanging humor and making jokes in the face of crisis”.

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“It’s our coping mechanism,” he said.

“It takes luck to make it to any long list… for a novel about Sri Lanka’s turbulent past to come out just as the world is watching Sri Lanka’s turbulent present also requires alignment. of dark forces.

“Unlike my protagonist Maali Almeida, I don’t gamble. So I don’t expect to throw two more sixs, although I would scream with joy if I did. “

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Six books on this year’s shortlist for the 2022 Book Award (Booker Prize/PA)

This year marks the first time Karunatilaka has been shortlisted for the award, although his 2011 debut book, Chinaman, took home the Commonwealth Book Prize, the DSL Prize and the Gratiaen Prize.

The 47-year-old follows Sri Lankan-born author Michael Ondaatje, who won the 1992 British Patient Book and the award’s 50th Anniversary Gold Book in 2018.

British art historian Neil MacGregor, chair of the 2022 jury, described Karunatilaka’s book as “a book about the afterlife that blurs the boundaries not only of different genres, but also of life and death, body and spirit, east and west”.

“It is a book that takes the author on a roller coaster journey through life and death, true to what the author describes as the dark heart of the world and where the reader marvels. find their joy, tenderness, love and loyalty,” he said.

As well as MacGregor, the jury included scholar and broadcaster Shahidha Bari, historian Helen Castor, novelist and critic M John Harrison and novelist, poet and professor Alain Mabanckou.

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The Queen Consort presents the trophy (John Walton / PA)

Karunatilaka was announced as the award winner in a ceremony broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC News Channel on Monday and presented with the trophy by Queen Consort.

He was also given £50,000 by last year’s winner Damon Galgut, as well as a tailored edition of his book.

£2,500 was awarded to each shortlisted author. They are NoViolet Bulawayo for Glory, Percival Everett for The Trees, Claire Keegan for Small Things Like This, Elizabeth Strout for Oh William!, and Alan Garner for Treacle Walker.

Strout was unable to attend the ceremony due to illness, and Garner attended almost exclusively from Cheshire, where he was celebrating his 88th birthday.

MacGregor adds that upon reading the final books, “it becomes clear that, although they may at first appear to be very diverse, from civil war in Sri Lanka to private fantasies of childhood in Cheshire, they are all alike. really revolves around a question.

“That is, ‘what is the importance of personal life?'”

He said that “what stands out in all of them is the weight of history” that reflects our tumultuous times.

He added: “There are times of great uncertainty everywhere there is structure in question.

“What all these books reaffirm… is the importance of the long term and we need to think about that.”

Karunatilaka was also given special help to allow him to travel to the awards ceremony in London, which Booker had done before.

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Singer-songwriter Dua Lipa delivers keynote speech (Ian West/PA)

Singer-songwriter Dua Lipa delivered a keynote speech while comedian Sophie Duker hosted the event.

Dua Lipa credited Ismail Kadare, who won the first International Bookstore Award, for testing her language skills “while helping me connect with my family’s heritage and identity with as Albanians in Kosovan”.

She added: “I often wonder if the authors realize how many gifts they give us.

“Touring commitments take me all over the world and life is often hectic.

“Sometimes, just to survive, I need to adopt a tough exterior. And at these times, the policy has softened my heart.”

Lipa then led the audience in a performance of Happy Birthday to Garner.

When asked if Dua Lipa’s appearance was trying to reach a younger audience, Gaby Wood, director of the Booker Prize Foundation, said: “Our sense is that the Booker Prize is a way of life and … you need to make sure and try to make sure people think it’s for them. “

MacGregor and the other judges will explore the novel more deeply in Fantasy World, which will air on Tuesdays on BBC Radio 4 at 4pm.

South African novelist Galgut, 57, won the 2021 Booker Prize for Fiction with Promise.

First awarded in 1969, the Booker is open to writers of any nationality whose work is written in English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/sri-lankan-author-shehan-karunatilaka-wins-2022-booker-prize-42074164.html Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka wins Booker Prize 2022

Fry Electronics Team

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