Literary prizes form a fascinating
interface between literature and
society. Established in 1968, the Booker
Prize has rapidly become one of the
most prestigious and glamorous
literary prizes in the English speaking
world. Unlike the Nobel Prize, the
Booker focuses on a particular novel
rather than on a particular author. It
seeks to confer literary recognition on
novels that are winners and attend to
the novel as a form and medium for
new voices, styles and cultures.
The Man Booker Prize expresses a
postcolonial response, and the
prominence of India in its brief history
is unquestionable. Besides V.S. Naipaul,
the Indian Trinidadian, the prize has
been awarded to four Indians—Salman
Rushdie in 1981, Arundhati Roy in 1997,
Kiran Desai in 2006 and most recently
in 2008 to Aravind Adiga. In addition,
diasporic Indian authors regularly
appear on the shortlist that comes out
several months before the prize is
actually awarded. Thus, Indian writers
have successfully created a niche of
their own in English, leaving an
indelible mark on the global scene.
Rich in scholarship, Indian Booker Prize
Winners is a challenging collection of
essays, which propels the field of Indian
English writing forward and focuses on
the emerging role of Indian English
fiction in shaping the most significant
annual international award in English
letters. The book examines the key
critical debates which provide a
concise analysis of the Booker winning
novels from India. A variety of subjects
and viewpoints inform the close
readings of these seminal novels,
thereby making the book particularly
useful for the teachers and students of
Indian English literature.
Dr. Sunita Sinha, a gold medallist
from the Patna University, Bihar, has
been teaching English in Women’s
College, Samastipur, LN. Mithila
University, Bihar. She has authored two
books, Graham Greene: A Study of His
Major Novels and Post Colonial Women
Writers: New Perspectives. She has
edited three anthologies on
Postcolonial! literature, viz. New Urges
in Post Colonial Literature: Widening
Horizons, Reconceiving Posicolonialism:
Visions and Revisions and Postcolonial
Imaginings: Fissions and Fusions. Critical
Responses to Kiran Desai and New
Perspectives in British Literature Vol. I
and Il, have been recently published
by the Atlantic Publishers &
Distributors (P) Ltd. New Delhi.
Sunita Sinha has participated in many
national and international seminars
and conferences and has written many
scholarly papers which have been
published in various national and
international journals. Her areas of
interest are British, Indian, Australian,
Canadian and Postcolonial literature.
She is the Assistant Editor of The
Atlantic Critical Review and the
Honorary Editor/Director for Bihar,
Atlantic Publishers & Distributors
The Man Booker is, by common consent, the most prestigious and the highest profile prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in English, by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. Unlike the Nobel Prize, the booker focuses on a particular novel rather than a particular author, and unlike the Pulitzer Prize, it is associated with England and the Commonwealth rather than with USA.
The Booker holds the key to both commercial and critical success, and is therefore construed as an effective weapon in the book marketer's armoury and as such, it is one of the mighty engines of the 21st-century book trade. Hence, the Booker Prize winner is considered "a signifier of marketplace success, a definition of literary value and a self-reflexive act in which the books Booker chooses actively construct what is meant by Bookers". It seeks to confer literary recognition on novels that are winners and attend to the novel as a form and medium for new voices, styles and cultures.
India has been consistently producing award-winning authors or inspiring others to base their works on Indian colours, themes and identity. As a matter of fact, India's prominence in the brief history of Booker fiction is unquestionable. Just two years after the first ever Booker Prize was conferred in 1969, V.S. Naipaul—the Indian Trinidadian writing about the displaced ethnic Indians—was awarded the Booker for In a Free State. As many as three of the winning novels in the next seven years—though authored by non-Indians—were based on Anglo-Indian Colonial experience, viz. The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrel (1973); Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1975); and Staying On by Paul Scott (1978). In the last 25 years, the prize has been bestowed on four Indians—Salman Rushdie in 1981 for Midnight's Children; Arundhati Roy in 1997 for The God of Small Things; Kiran Desai in 2006 for The Inheritance of Loss; and most recently, to Aravind Adiga in 2008 for The White Tiger. In addition, diasporic Indian authors appear regularly in the shortlist for Booker.
Such achievement of literary distinction has drawn attention of reviewers and critics all over the world to Indian writing in English. In fact, as Aravind Adiga the latest Indian star in the Booker's horizon—puts it:
India just teems with untold stories, and no one who is
alive to the poetry, the anger and the intelligence of
Indian society, will ever run out of stories to write.
Not only has the readership of novels of by Indian writers, particularly those experimenting with new ideas, themes and styles, swelled in Europe, India and elsewhere over the years, there is a new wave of enthusiasm in literary circles for research, critical analysis and academic pursuits pertinent to English literature. The book Indian Booker Prize Winners in two volumes, has been brought to sustain and to add to that fervour so that a ground is prepared for still higher achievements by Indian English writers. It will provide deeper insights into issues, emotions, themes and styles of the celebrated Indian Booker prize-winning novelists as exhibited in their works. It will immensely benefit students and teachers of English literature, particularly Indian English literature and the genre of fiction, and researchers in these fields.
Representing the combined efforts of erudite scholars in the field of English literature, the book is multivocal and inclusive. I am thankful to the legion of contributors who have worked hard to present their articles. I also wish to thank Dr. K.R. Gupta, Honorary Advisor, Atlantic Publishers and Distributors (P) Ltd. for the confidence evinced in me and for seeing the book through the press.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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