Geetanjali Shree becomes first Indian author to win International Booker Prize for Hindi novel

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Author Geetanjali Shree has created history by winning the prestigious International Booker Prize on Thursday for her novel ‘Tomb of Sand’. With this recognition, ‘Tomb of Sand’ became the first book in any Indian language to win the award.

Hailing from Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh, Shree is the author of three novels and several story collections. The 64-year-old author is the first Hindi novelist to achieve this rare feat. Originally published in Hindi in 2018, ‘Tomb of Sand’ is one of her first books to be published in the UK. Her work has been translated into several languages including English, French, German, Serbian, and Korean and been shortlisted for a number of awards and fellowships.

“There is a melancholy satisfaction in the award going to it. “Tomb of Sand (Ret Samadhi) is an elegy for the world we inhabit, a lasting energy that retains hope in the face of impending doom. The Booker will surely take it to many more people than it would have reached otherwise, that should do the book no harm,” she said in her acceptance speech.

She further added, “But behind me and this book lies a rich and flourishing literary tradition in Hindi, and in other South Asian languages. World literature will be the richer for knowing some of the finest writers in these languages. The vocabulary of life will increase from such an interaction.”

The ‘Tomb of Sand’ is based in North Indian and tells the story of an octogenarian woman who has slipped into deep depression post the death of her husband. However, she resurfaces to gain a new lease of life.


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