British-Indian novelist Rana Dasgupta was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (CWP) 2010 for his second novel Solo (2009) at an event held at the India International Centre in New Delhi on Monday.
Solo is a kaleidoscopic novel about the life and daydreams of Ulrich, a 100-year-old man from Bulgaria. Having achieved little in life, he settles into a prophetic daydream of the 21st century, where all the ideological experiments of his century are over and an array of startling characters—demons and angels—live a life beyond utopia. It is a book about lost roots, broken traditions and wasted ambitions—and the ways human beings overcome those failures.
The book was in competition with three other zonal finalists: The Double Crown by Marie Heese of South Africa, Galore by Michael Crummey of Canada and The Adventures of Vela by Albert Wendt of Samoa.
The prize for the Best First Book was awarded to the Australian writer Glena Guest for her book, Siddon Rock.
ABOUT THE VIDEO: Here, in our short video interview, Dasgupta speaks to us about the week-long events leading up to the prize, the controversy about the basis of the CWP and possible plans for the inclusion of a third prize—for literature in other languages translated into English.