The Man Booker Prize (previously Booker-McConnell Prize) is arguably the most prestigious award for novel-writing in English language. Indians or Indian origin winners of this top literary honor are a source of great pride for India.
Care to know more about these personalities? Read on…
1. Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy stormed the literary world with her debut novel, The God of Small Things. The book is based on love, loss and relationships in ordinary Indian lives. She received the award in 1997.
Arundhati Roy was the first ‘born, bought up, living and thriving in India,’ author to win the Booker Prize. The chair of the judges’ panel remarked that The God of Small Things had ‘extraordinary linguistic inventiveness’.
Since then, Arundhati Roy has been engaged in socio-political writing, especially concerning Indian political and social structures. After a gap of 20 long years her second fictional work, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, will be published in 2017.
2. Arvind Adiga
Arvind Adiga took the world by surprise when he won the Booker Prize in 2008 for his first novel, The White Tiger. The chair of the judges’ panel stated that he was looking for a novel which would ‘knock his socks off’. And it seems, The White Tiger certainly did so!
This was a controversial rags to riches story of a man. Balram Halwai narrates his rise from corrupt and poor underbelly of India to the smart and upwardly mobile India but through seriously offensive means.
Arvind Adga became quite famous after his booker win. He lives in Mumbai, India. His latest venture in fiction is, Selection Day released in May 2016. It revolves around the life of a teenage boy who wants to play cricket.
3. Kiran Desai
Kiran Desai won the Booker Prize in 2006 for her second novel, Inheritance of Loss. She was the youngest female till ten to have won the coveted prize. Interestingly, she is the daughter of Anita Desai, who herself was shortlisted three times for Booker Prize.
Her novel spans a diverse and vivid landscape just like her imagination. From enchanting Himalayas to New York the novel showcases super diversity. Inheritance of Loss touched lives across the English reading community through its expansive details.
After a relatively short stay in India, Kiran moved to the UK at the age of 14. She later relocated to the US where she sharpened her writing skills.
4. Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is one the most celebrated Booker Prize winner of all time. His novel, Midnight’s Children won top honors in 1981. It was praised by literary critics and book lovers around the globe as a fantastic and sensational work of writing.
Incredibly, it was also chosen as the Booker of Bookers on occasion of the 25th anniversary of Booker Awards. Next, it won The Best of the Booker special prize on the 40th anniversary of the same.
Salman Rushdie had moved to Britain in early childhood. But his affiliation with South Asia, especially his birth place India is quite evident through his writing.
But Salman Rushdie was caught up in one of the biggest controversies in literature world for his book Satanic Verses. A fatwa or religious decree was issued to get him killed for writing this book. It was allegedly considered insulting for Prophet Muhammad, the central figure in Islam.
Salman Rushdie survived some very troubling times for many years because of this issue. But he continued producing some outstanding literature post and does so regularly!
After going through his body of work one can definitely conclude that Salman Rushdie is one of the most brilliant authors of all time.
5. V S Naipaul
V S Naipaul, now Sir VS Naipaul, won the Booker Prize for his work, In a Free State, in 1971. It is a collection of two short stories, one novel and two novellas.
This was a controversial award because for all practical purposes In a Free State was a body of work and not a single novel. It also was the year when Booker Prize Chair of judges’ panel resigned his post mid-way through evaluation process.
But V S Naipaul made a mark in the world of writing and became widely acclaimed for his writing. Vidia Naipaul had Indian roots but was born and raised in Trinidad but his writing career blossomed in the UK. The Booker Prize was just one of the many laurels during his long and illustrious career.