Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka has won the Commonwealth Book Prize for his debut novel Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, while New Zealand writer Emma Martin is winner of the short story prize.
Karunatilaka beat four other writers, including New Brunswick's Riel Nason, regional Commonwealth winner for Canada and Europe for her debut novel The Town That Drowned.
In Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, former advertising copywriter Karunatilaka tells the story of a sports journalist who embarks on a quest to find a cricket star who appears to have been expunged from history.
"This fabulously enjoyable read will keep you entertained and rooting for the protagonist until the very end, while delivering startling truths about cricket and about Sri Lanka," said jury chair Margaret Busby.
"It's an insightful story about fact and gullibility, about world history, about friends and family [and it] sets the standard high for the new Commonwealth Book Prize."
Wellington, N.Z.-based Martin won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Two Girls in a Boat, a story hailed by the jury for its "gorgeous, elegant and spare writing." She is currently working on a collection of short fiction.
The winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize receives £10,000 ($15,940 Cdn), while the short story winner gets £5,000 ($7,970 Cdn).
The Commonwealth Foundation relaunched the award this year with a mission to target new talent. All the nominees for the main book prize were debut novelists.
Karunatilaka said it was a "huge surprise" to win and welcomed the international attention the prize draws to his book.
"Winning the prize means so much … If you are a Sri Lankan writing in English, you can't expect to be published outside Sri Lanka. When I finished it, I thought it would be appealing to Sri Lankans, and perhaps readers in India and Pakistan and the subcontinent would get into it, but I really didn't think it would go further than that," he said in a statement on the Commonwealth Foundation site.
"I was surprised to make it to the final five, considering how strong the Asia shortlist was. To win it is quite crazy." (cbcnews)
Comments - 17
Imran Hussein Saturday, 09 June 2012 06:46 AM
WOW, What an achievement. Its an honour to Sri Lanka.
chris abey Saturday, 09 June 2012 07:21 AM
Wonderful work.Sri Lanka's Salman Rushdie..Great honour he has brought to Sri Lanka.
MalcomX Saturday, 09 June 2012 07:31 AM
rohandil Saturday, 09 June 2012 08:18 AM
congrats great achevement...your a humble man
RajasH Saturday, 09 June 2012 08:39 AM
I read that book it's written in more sri lankan style English and dialog. It was a pain to keep the interest to finish the book. I would have never thought that it'a Booker Prize Winner. But judging by the previous winners Booker Prize have a different criteria. However well done and congratulations Shehan
bandula Saturday, 09 June 2012 09:10 AM
Paul Monday, 11 June 2012 07:08 AM
No one said it was about Murali...
Imran Malik Saturday, 09 June 2012 09:13 AM
Lovely book and a stylzed approach to contemporary asian literature. I was engrossed in the depth of its pages till the very end. Boy, arent we proud of our Shehan. Well done and keep it up.
Mushin Rameez Saturday, 09 June 2012 09:29 AM
Another notch for Sri Lankan literary talent. A well deserved win which will hopefully spur him onto greater works. He has indeed done us proud. Congrats Shehan.
Fazli Sunday, 10 June 2012 06:39 AM
Outstanding ! Keep going mate.
Ahamed Sunday, 10 June 2012 07:27 AM
Great news. Your achievement makes us proud to be Sri Lankans.
dev Saturday, 09 June 2012 12:01 PM
HEy Bro ma GME friend, am Proud of u. Congratulations!
RajasH Saturday, 09 June 2012 11:56 AM
by the way the book is based on cricket and around a mystery spinner who went missing. Not based on Murali
Coconut Donkey Saturday, 09 June 2012 12:01 PM
and there is one in every family...
# Marzook Sunday, 10 June 2012 11:04 AM
Well done man. I hardly see you being properly encouraged, appreciated & our leaders lookout & support people like you. Thats why its much valuable as it was your sole effort!
Silva Monday, 11 June 2012 04:50 AM
Obviously you dont know what you are talking about. This is not the 'Booker' prize. This is the Commonwealth Book prize.
Coconut Donkey Saturday, 09 June 2012 06:41 AM
Outstanding piece of writing that book was! Congrats!!!
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