Thursday, October 12, 2006

The 2006 winner, The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai


Youngest ever woman wins Man Booker Prize at age of 35

Kiran Desai was tonight (Tuesday 10th October) named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Inheritance of Loss, published by Hamish Hamilton.

The Indian-born writer has a strong family tie with the prize as her mother Anita Desai has been shortlisted three times since 1980 but has never won. This year, however, her daughter, Kiran, has won the acclaimed literary prize.

Author of the 1998 universally praised Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, Desai is the first woman to win the Man Booker since 2000 when Margaret Atwood scooped the prize with The Blind Assassin. Her winning book, The Inheritance of Loss, is a radiant, funny and moving family saga and has been described by reviewers as ‘the best, sweetest, most delightful novel’.

This is the first time that Hamish Hamilton has published a Man Booker Prize winner although they had two shortlisted authors in 2005.

Chair of the judges, Hermione Lee, made the announcement at the awards dinner at the Guildhall, London, which was broadcast live on the BBC 10 O’ Clock News. Harvey McGrath, Chairman of Man Group plc, presented Kiran Desai with a cheque for £50,000.

Hermione Lee comments,

“We are delighted to announce that the winner of the Man Booker Prize for 2006 is Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, a magnificent novel of humane breadth and wisdom, comic tenderness and powerful political acuteness. The winner was chosen, after a long, passionate and generous debate, from a shortlist of five other strong and original voices.”

Over and above her prize of £50,000, Kiran Desai is guaranteed a huge increase in sales and recognition worldwide. Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer-bound edition of their book.

The judging panel for the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction is: Hermione Lee (Chair), biographer, academic and reviewer; Simon Armitage, poet and novelist; Candia McWilliam, award-winning novelist; critic Anthony Quinn; and actor Fiona Shaw.

The Winner

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
Hamish Hamilton, £16.99

‘Kiran Desai is a terrific writer. This book richly fulfils the promise of her first.’ - Salman Rushdie

In the north-eastern Himalayas, at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga, in an isolated and crumbling house, there lives an embittered old judge, who wants nothing more than to retire in peace. But with the arrival of his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, and the son of his chatty cook trying to stay a step ahead of US immigration services, this is far from easy.

When a Nepalese insurgency threatens the blossoming romance between Sai and her handsome tutor, they, too, are forced to consider their colliding interests. The judge must revisit his past, his own journey and his role in this grasping world of conflicting desires - every moment holding out the possibility for hope or betrayal.

Kiran Desai was born in India in 1971, and was educated in India, in England, and the United States. Kiran studied creative writing at Columbia University. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard and The Inheritance of Loss.

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