Meet Geetanjali Shree, First Hindi Novelist To Be Longlisted For International Booker Prize

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Author Geetanjali Shree’s translated Hindi novel Tomb of Sand is amongst 13 books that got selected for the International Booker Prize longlist. This selection has made hers the first novel in the Hindi language to be selected for the prestigious literary prize, the confirmation of which was made by the organisation yesterday.

Shree’s book Ret Samadhi has been translated into the English language by Daisy Rockwell. The novel narrates the story of an 80-year-old woman, who is depressed after her husband’s death. In the due course of the book, she overcomes the depression and decides on visiting Pakistan to confront the past that she has left behind during the Partition.

Talking about the novel, the judges called it “loud and irresistible.” They went on to state that the “constantly shifting perspectives and timeframes” of her book are “inventive.” The judges also added that its energetic vibe leads the readers into “the life of a cranny 80-year-old woman and surprising past.”

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The website of Booker Prizes also said that the 13 long-listed novels are works of fiction from 11 different languages across 12 countries and four continents, that have been translated into English. The site also stated that it is for the first time that a Hindi language novel was included in this list.

Who Is Geetanjali Shree?

Currently based in New Delhi, Shree was born in Manipuri, Uttar Pradesh, Shree has authored multiple novels and several of her story collections have been translated into other languages like English, French, German, Serbian and Korean.

Other than writing, the 64-year-od is also an active part of the theatre. Reacting to the nomination, Shree said, “Writing is its own reward. But getting recognition as special as from Booker is a wonderful bonus. The fact that there is much that is dismal all round in the world today, adds to the value of positive vibes in fields like literature. Stands out my heart as hope…”

Geetanjali Shree has four other titles to her name–Mai, Tirohit, Hamara Sheher Us Baras and Khali Jagah. Her novel Khali Jagah was translated into Urdu in Pakistan and has also been translated to the English language as well. Her novel Mai was shortlisted for the Hutch-Crossword Translation Award in the year 2000.