Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka wins 2022 Booker Prize | Arts and Culture News

The judges described Karunatilaka’s book, Maali Almeida’s Seven Moons, as an afterlife novel that exhibits ‘deep humanity’.

Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka has been named the winner of the prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction for her second book The Seven Moons by Maali Almeida, about a war photographer murdered during the war. country’s civil war.

Karunatilaka received a trophy from Queen Consort Camilla at a ceremony on Monday evening in London. This is the first live English literature award ceremony since 2019. The 47-year-old author also received a prize of £50,000 ($56,700).

Set in 1990’s Sri Lanka, Seven Moons follows gay war photographer and gambler Maali Almeida after he wakes up to death and decides to find out who is responsible.

Time is of the essence for Maali, who has “seven moons” to reach out to loved ones and guide them to hidden photographs he has taken depicting the brutality of the sectarian conflict across the globe. island.

“My hope for the Seven Moons is this… that in the not too distant future… it is read in a Sri Lankan who understands these ideas of corruption and racism and cronyism. didn’t work and never will,” he said.

“I hope it will be in print in 10 years but if it does, I hope it will be written in [a] Sri Lanka learns from its stories, and Seven Moons will be in the fantasy section of the bookstore… alongside dragons, unicorns and unicorns. [and] would not be confused with realism or political satire,” he added.

Karunatilaka is the second Sri Lankan to win the award, following Michael Ondaatje’s 1992 win for British Patient, which was later turned into a blockbuster.

Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka poses next to Britain's Queen Camilla, holding the Booker Prize gold trophy.
Karunatilaka received her trophy from Camilla, the queen consort of England [Toby Melville/Pool via AFP]

Neil MacGregor, who chaired the jury, called Seven Moons “an afterlife noir that blurs the boundaries not only of different genres, but of life and death, body and spirit, east and west”.

The judges considered this to be a “race against time, full of magic, sassy and deeply humane”.

All but one of the six shortlisted authors attended the ceremony, the first in-person Booker event since 2019.

Alan Garner, of England, who turned 88 on Monday, appeared mostly absent.

Other authors on the shortlist include Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo, American writers Percival Everett and Elizabeth Strout and Irish author Claire Keegan.

The Booker was first awarded in 1969 and is the UK’s most important literary prize for fiction written in the English language. Last year the award went to South Africa Damon Galgutwhile previous winners include Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Hilary Mantel.

Monday’s ceremony had a special tribute to Mantel, who passed away last month at the age of 70.

She is the first British writer – and the first woman – to win the award twice for the first two novels in her Wolf Hall trilogy.


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