India’s Aravind Adiga wins Man Booker Prize for White Tiger

October 15th, 2008 - 8:23 am ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 15 (DPA) Indian debut novelist Aravind Adiga won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2008 for his work The White Tiger in London Tuesday.The 33-year-old journalist tells the “story of two Indias” in his book, praised by Booker Prize judges’ chairman Michael Portillo as “being in the tradition of Macbeth with a delicious twist.”

Adiga is the third first-time novelist to win the 50,000-pound ($86,000) Booker Prize, which is awarded each year for the best novel in the British Commonwealth and the Republic of Ireland.

Adiga, who lives in Mumbai - formerly Bombay, charts his journey from working in a teashop to entrepreneurial success in what is seen as a critique of modern India and its class divisons.

“It’s meant to get people thinking. Large numbers of people are not benefiting from the bottom,” said Adiga about his work.

The novel concerns Balram Halwai, the son of a rickshaw puller and the White Tiger who dreams of escaping his life as a tea shop worker turned chauffeur.

When his chance arrives and his eyes are opened to the city of New Delhi, Balram becomes caught between his instinct to be a better son and his desire to better himself.

The novel, chosen from a shortlist of five, had “knocked his socks off,” said Portillo.

Previous debut winners were Arundhati Roy in 1997 for God of Small Things and DBC Pierre in 2003 for Vernon God Little.

Adiga, who wanted to become a novelist since he was a boy, was born in Madras, now Chennai, and later moved to Mumbai.

He studied at Columbia University in New York and at Oxford University, and has worked as a correspondent for Time magazine, the London Independent and the Sunday Times.

He is the fourth Indian-born author to win the prize, joining compatriots Salman Rushdie, Roy and Kiran Desai. A fifth winner, V.S. Naipaul, is of Indian ancestry.

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