Critically acclaimed author Geetanjali Shree’s novel Tomb of Sand, translated from the Hindi by Daisy Rockwell, has been nominated for this year’s International Booker Prize. The news of the shortlist broke earlier today. This is the first time the translation of a Hindi language book has been nominated for the award. Tomb of Sand was first published in Hindi as Ret Samadhi in 2018 and Penguin India released its English translation in March 2022. This book has also been the winner of the English Pen Award.
One of the finest works by Geetanjali Shree, Tomb of Sand has received a lot appreciation from readers, who have reviewed it as engaging, funny and utterly original. Based on a tragic premise, the story however has a playful tone and exuberant wordplay. At the same time, it is an urgent and timely protest against the destructive impact on borders and boundaries, whether between religions, countries, or gender. This book is available for purchase on all leading e-commerce websites and in bookstores near you.
Author Geetanjali Shree says, ‘It is recognition of a very special kind. When a work appeals to unknown people sitting in faraway places, then it must have the ability to transcend its specific cultural context and touch the universal and the human. That is true ratification. The work must be good, the translation must be excellent! It is a great moment for Daisy and me. Shows how rich our dialogue has been. That is what translation is about.’
Renowned translator Daisy Rockwell says, ‘I am honoured and overjoyed that the International Booker Committee has chosen to include Tomb of Sand for the shortlist. The longlisting has brought the book many new readers around the world, in English and in Hindi as well. It has also created an awareness of Indian literatures written in languages other than English, and I sincerely hope that awareness will grow into a desire for more. The Subcontinent has so many talented translators and amazing translated works to offer to readers of world literature. Here’s to many more International Booker nominations for South Asian literature!’
Rea Mukherjee, Commissioning Editor, Penguin Random House India says, ‘I am ecstatic that Tomb of Sand has made it to the shortlist! Geetanjali Shree is a master storyteller and probably one of the finest Indian writers currently writing in an Indian language, and Daisy Rockwell is simply incredible at what she does, with her attention to detail and nuance shining through, making this author–translator pairing perfect. This book is truly an insightful and one-of-a-kind Partition novel, and I am pleased and honoured that it found a home with us.’
The International Booker Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in translated literature, giving both the author and translator a platform to showcase their exemplary work in translations.
The shortlist for the 2022 International Booker Prize includes six titles and their information can be found here. The jury is chaired by Frank Wynne, an Irish literary translator from French and Spanish. The judging panel consists of Merve Emre, Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, Zimbabwean lawyer and writer Petina Gappah, translator and author Jeremy Tiang and Viv Groskop, writer, critic, broadcaster and stand-up comedian.
The winners of the prize will be announced on 26 May 2022.
About the Author
Author of three novels and several story collections, Geetanjali Shree’s work has been translated into English, French, German, Serbian, and Korean. She has received and been shortlisted for a number of awards and fellowships, and lives in New Delhi.
About the Translator
Daisy Rockwell is an artist, writer and translator living in northern New England, USA. Apart from her essays on literature and art, she has written Upendranath Ashk: A Critical Biography, The Little Book of Terror and the novel Taste. Her highly acclaimed translations include, among others, Upendranath Ashk’s Falling Walls and Bhisham Sahni’s Tamas, published in Penguin Classics.