Sri Lankan novelist wins $50,000 prize
Jaipur: Cricket found its place in the sun at the Jaipur Literature Festival Saturday with young Sri Lankan novelist Shehan Karunatilaka winning the DSC South Asian Prize for Literature for his debut novel ‘Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew’.
The prize, carrying a purse of $50,000, was given to Karunatilaka by the queen mother of Bhutan, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, in a function compared by actor Kabir Bedi.
The book narrates the story of a retired sports writer, W.G. Karunasena, who is dying. Before his death, he wants to do all that he had ever wanted to do.
Karunasena spends his final months drinking alcohol, nagging his wife, ignoring his son and tracking down Pradeep Mathew, a spin bowler who disappeared three years ago. To the journalist, Mathew is the greatest cricketer to have walked on earth.
The panel of judges lauded Karunatilaka for his original voice and the freshness of style.
The entries were judged by a six-member jury led by Ira Pande, Alistair Niven, Fakrul Alam, Faiza S. Khan and Marie Brenner.
Six books including ‘Bharathapura’, ‘Chandrakanta: A Street in Srinagar’, ‘A Thing About Thugs’, ‘A Story That Must Not be Told’ and ‘Monkey Man’ were shortlisted for the prize.
"The winning tale is a brilliant narrative of all that is both great and sad about South Asia and brings the world to the reader that needs to be seen outside the region," Pande said,
Last year, the prize went to H.M. Naqvi for his novel ‘Homeboy’.