Last Tuesday, Aravind Adiga was named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2008 for his novel "The White Tiger"
The thirty-three year old novelist was presented the prize at an awards ceremony at Guildhall, London. Adiga becomes the fourth debut novelist, and the second Indian debut novelist, to win the award in the forty year history of the prize. The three other debut novelists to have won the prize are Keri Hulme in 1985, DBC Pierre in 2003 and Arundhati Roy in 1997.
Adiga, who has wanted to be a novelist since he was a boy, was born in Madras and now lives in Mumbai. He becomes the fifth Indian author to win the prize, joining VS Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai. He studied at Columbia and Oxford Universities and is a former correspondent for Time magazine in India. Adiga's articles have also appeared in publications such as the Financial Times, Independent and Sunday Times
Michael Portillo, Chair of the 2008 judges, made the announcement. Peter Clarke, Chief Executive of Man Group plc, presented Aravind Adiga with a cheque for £50,000.
Michael Portillo commented: "The judges found the decision difficult because the shortlist contained such strong candidates. In the end, The White Tiger prevailed because the judges felt that it shocked and entertained in equal measure. The novel undertakes the extraordinarily difficult task of gaining and holding the reader's sympathy for a thoroughgoing villain. The book gains from dealing with pressing social issues and significant global developments with astonishing humour."
Portillo went on to explain that the novel had won overall because of 'its originality'. He said that The White Tiger presented 'a different aspect of India' and was a novel with 'enormous literary merit'.
Aravind Adiga's winning novel "The White Tiger" is decribed as a ‘compelling, angry and darkly humorous' novel about a man's journey from Indian village life to entrepreneurial success. It was described by one reviewer as an ‘unadorned portrait' of India seen ‘from the bottom of the heap'.
Synopsis: Born in a village in heartland India, the son of a rickshaw puller, Balram is taken out of school by his family and put to work in a teashop. As he crushes coals and wipes tables, he nurses a dream of escape - of breaking away from the banks of Mother Ganga, into whose depths have seeped the remains of a hundred generations.
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