American author of "Family Life" Sharma wins Folio prize

 It took him 13 years to write and publish it, but Indian-born U.S. author Akhil Sharma won the second annual Folio literary prize and 40,000 pounds on Monday for his novel "Family Life".

Reuters| Updated: Mar 24, 2015, 01:37 AM IST

London: It took him 13 years to write and publish it, but Indian-born U.S. author Akhil Sharma won the second annual Folio literary prize and 40,000 pounds on Monday for his novel "Family Life".

Sharma, 43, was selected from a shortlist of eight authors for the prize for his novel about an Indian family that immigrates to the U.S. and the tragedy that "turns their American dream" into a "nightmare".

Its sponsors say it is intended to recognise "the best English-language fiction from around the world" that has been published in Britain, regardless of form, genre or the author`s nationality.

"Family Life is a masterful novel of distilled complexity, about catastrophe and survival; attachment and independence; the tension between selfishness and responsibility," British author William Fiennes, the chair of the judges, said in a statement announcing the winner of the prize founded by the Folio Society, a publisher of deluxe classic books.

"We loved its deceptive simplicity and rare warmth. More than a decade in the writing, this is a work of art that expands with each re-reading and a novel that will endure."

Sharma was born in Delhi in India and emigrated to the U.S. in 1979. His stories have been published in the New Yorker and in Atlantic Monthly, and have been included in The Best American Short Stories and O. Henry Prize Collections. 

His first novel, An Obedient Father, won the 2001 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. He was named one of Granta`s `Best of Young American Novelists` in 2007.

‘Family Life will cut your heart to pieces but it will also make you rejoice. The language, the humour, the sophistication, the empathy, the insight - all signal a new kind of literature about families and the bonds with which they hold us tight," wrote American author and satirist Gary Shteyngart.

"Akhil Sharma`s place among the best literary novelists of his generation is likewise secure."

The other 2015 shortlisted titles were:

"10:04" by Ben Lerner (Granta)

"All My Puny Sorrows" by Miriam Toews (Faber)

"Dept. of Speculation" by Jenny Offill (Granta)

"Dust" by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Granta)

"How to Be Both" by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)

"Nora Webster" by Colm Tóibín (Viking)

"Outline" by Rachel Cusk (Faber)