Award-winning authors Anuk Arudpragasam’s second novel A Passage North and Sunjeev Sahota’s China Room are in the race to win this year’s Booker Prize for Fiction. The news of the longlist broke early this morning with an announcement from the organisers of one of the leading literary awards in the English-speaking world. This is Anuk’s first nomination and Sunjeev’s second. Previously Sunjeev Sahota was a finalist for The Booker Prize in 2015.
China Room and A Passage North are published in India by Penguin Random House India, making them the only nominees by an Indian publisher in this year’s longlist. Both books are published under the Hamish Hamilton imprint in India, and were simultaneously released in the UK, the USA and India in May and July 2021 respectively.
A powerful and intensely personal meditation on the aftermath of war, A Passage North is a poignant memorial for the missing and the dead, and a luminous meditation on time, consciousness, and the lasting imprint of the connections we make with others.
Inspired in part by the author’s own family history, China Room is a riveting novel about two characters separated by more than half a century but united by blood. At once sweeping and intimate, lush and propulsive, it is a stunning achievement from a contemporary master.
Manasi Subramaniam, Executive Editor and Head of Literary Rights, Penguin Random House India, and the editor of A Passage North says, ‘As an editor, one dreams of publishing books like A Passage North and authors like Anuk Arudpragasam. The novel moved me more than I can say, with its exquisite beauty, its extraordinary attention to detail, and its truly awe-inspiring capacity to capture the universal by describing the very specific. At the same time, it is a boldly political novel that never looks away from the hideousness of war. We are delighted that this novel has been recognized by the Booker jury.’
The editor of China Room and Associate Commissioning Editor at Penguin Random House India, Tarini Uppal says, ‘I could not be more thrilled to see Sunjeev Sahota’s hauntingly beautiful book, China Room, on the prestigious Booker Prize longlist. It is always special to see a book set in India receive such critical acclaim and recognition on a global platform. I hope it will encourage readers from around the world to read more literature from the subcontinent.’
The longlist for 2021 Booker Prize also includes 13 titles and their information can be found here. The panel is chaired by historian Maya Jasanoff, and consists of: writer and editor Horatia Harrod; actor Natascha McElhone; twice Booker-shortlisted novelist and professor Chigozie Obioma; and writer and former Archbishop Rowan Williams.
The shortlist will be announced on 14 September 2021.
About the Authors
Anuk Arudpragasam was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and moved to the United States at the age of eighteen, where he attended Stanford and Columbia Universities. His first novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, was translated into six languages, won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. He currently divides his time between Sri Lanka and India.
Sunjeev Sahota is the author of Ours Are the Streets and The Year of the Runaways, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and was awarded a European Union Prize for Literature. In 2013, he was named one of Granta’s twenty ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ of the decade.