London: Beating predictions by bookies and others, debutant Indian novelist 33-year-old Aravind Adiga’s book “The White Tiger” was today declared the winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction for 2008.
Adiga beat favourite Sebastian Barry to take the £50,000 ($47,000) prize. Other authors in the shortlist were Amitav Ghosh, Steve Toltz, Linda Grant and Philip Hensher.
Aravind Adiga with a copy of his book, The White Tiger, for success in the big city. Alastair Grant / AP
Adiga’s novel was described as a “compelling, angry and darkly humorous” novel about a man’s journey from Indian village life to entrepreneurial success. It was described by one reviewer as an “unadorned portrait” of India seen “from the bottom of the heap”.
Adiga, who wanted to be a novelist since he was a boy, was born in Madras (now known as Chennai) and now lives in Mumbai.
He becomes the fifth Indian author to win the prize, joining V S Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai who won the prize in 1971, 1981, 1997 and 2006 respectively.
In addition, “The White Tiger” is the ninth winning novel to take its inspiration from India or Indian identity.
His book, “The White Tiger”, has been published by Atlantic Books and has already won rave reviews.
Michael Portillo, chairman of the judges, said: “In many ways it was the perfect novel.
“The judges found the decision difficult because the shortlist contained such strong candidates. In the end, The White Tiger prevailed because the judges felt that it shocked and entertained in equal measure.