The Man Booker Prize or simply the Booker Prize is a literary prize awarded every year for the best original novel, published in the UK and written in the English language.The winner of the Man Booker Prize is generally guaranteed international popularity and success; therefore, the prize is of great importance for the book trade.
History behind Booker Prize
The Booker Prize was initially known as the Booker-McConnell Prize, but when the company Booker-McConnell began sponsoring the event in 1968; it became commonly known as the “Booker Prize” or simply “the Booker.”
The administration of the prize was transferred to the Booker Prize Foundation in 2002,wherein the title sponsor became the investment company Man Group, which opted to retain “Booker” as part of the official title of the prize.It should be noted that, in 1970, Bernice Rubens became the first woman to win the Booker Prize, for The Elected Member, wherein from the next year the rules of the Booker changed.
In 1971, the year of eligibility was changed to the same as the year of the award; the consequence was that the books published in 1970 were not considered for the Booker in either year.The Booker Prize Foundation announced, in January 2010, the design of a special award called the “Lost Man Booker Prize,” with the winner chosen from a long list of 22 novels published in 1970.Here is a list of 5 Indian novelists who were shortlisted or have won the Booker prize in different years:
Rohinton Mistry is an Indo-Canadian novelist who has written three novels and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times.His first novel ‘Such a Long Journey’, made it to the list in 1991, and gathered more headlines when Bal Thackeray’s complaints got it removed from University of Mumbai’s syllabus.His second book ‘A Fine Balance’ (1996) has been successfully adapted on stage. The third and final novel by Mistry is ‘Family Matters’ (2002)
Indra Sinha is a British-Indian writer who had been in the finalists’ list for his novel on the Bhopal gas tragedy – ‘Animal’s People’ in 2007.He is also an ardent campaigner for justice to the victims of the incident and has made an advertisement, given many interviews and written many articles regarding the same. He holds the distinction of being in the list of the top 10 British copywriters of all time.Sinha also writes non-fiction and translates ancient Sanskrit texts into English.
Well known Bengali author, Amitav Ghosh, was shortlisted for his 6th novel, ‘Sea of Poppies’, in the year 2008 making it the only year two Indians made it together to the Booker shortlist. The other was Aravind Adiga.The book is the first of his Ibis trilogy, which is set before the Opium Wars in the 1830s. His latest novel, ‘River of Smoke’ (2011) is the second volume, and the third is yet to be published. It should be noted that he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian government in 2007.
Jeet Thayil is a novelist, with several talents. He is a poet and musician as well. He is the latest Indian to have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2012 for his debut and only work of fiction – ‘Narcopolis’.The novel deals with the Bombay of 1970’s and is a tale of a man’s journey in and out of the intoxication of opium. It took him five years to write the novel and is actually about his own experiences as a drug addict.
Aravind Adiga is an Indian-Australian writer and journalist. His debut novel, The White Tiger, won the 2008 Man Booker Prize. 2008 was actually the third year in a row for Indian novelists to have been nominated for the Booker Prize – and it saw Chennai-born Aravind Adiga taking away the Booker for his debut novel.White Tiger is a dark, humorous perspective of India’s class struggle in a globalized world – this novel made Adiga the second youngest author to win the award. It should be notes that he is also the fourth author to win the Booker for their debut novel.