Tamil writer Perumal Murugan has been selected for the International Booker prize longlist for 2023, the Booker Prize Foundation announced on Tuesday.
Perumal Murugan makes it to the prestigious list with his 2016 book “Pyre”, translated from the Tamil by Aniruddhan Vasudevan. “Pyre” tells the tale of an intercaste couple who elope, setting in motion a story of terrifying foreboding.
The 56-year-old is the first Tamil writer to make it to the longlist of 13 works. Last year, Hindi writer Geetanjali Shree became the first Indian writer to win the award, which celebrates translated works, for her book “Tomb of Sand”.
The prize jury termed Perumal Murugan a “great anatomist of power and, in particular, of the deep, deforming rot of caste hatred and violence”.
Perumal Murugan, who is based in Salem in Tamil Nadu, described “Pyre” as a very important book of his.
“Just a few minutes back someone broke the news to me. I am very happy, and this is great acceptance for my writing…. ‘Pyre’ deals with honour killing. Honour killing is a very big problem in our country, I hope more people get to know about this issue after this recognition,” Perumal Murugan told PTI over the phone.
The other longlisted books are: “Ninth Building” by Zou Jingzhi and translated by Jeremy Tiang, “A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding” by Amanda Svensson and translated by Nichola Smalley, “Still Born” by Guadalupe Nettle and translated by Rosalind Harvey, “While We Were Dreaming” by Clemens Meyer and translated by Katy Derbyshire, and “The Birthday Party” by Laurent Mauvignier and translated by Daniel Levin Becker.
“Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv” by Andrey Kurkov and translated by Rueben Woolley, “Is Mother Dead” by Vigdis Hjorth and translated by Charlotte Barslund, “Standing Heavy” by GauZ’ and translated by Frank Wynne, “Time Shelter” by Georgi Gospondinov and translated by Angela Rodel, “The Gospel According to the New World” by Maryse Conde and translated by Richard Philcox, “Whale” by Cheon Myeong-kwan and translated by Chi-Young Kim, and “Boulder” by Eva Baltasar and translated by Julia Sanches also made it to the list.
Complementing the Booker Prize for Fiction, the international prize is awarded every year for a single book that is translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.
The winner of the award receives a prize of 50,000 pounds, which is split between the author and translator equally.
‘What was very rewarding about this experience was reading books from all over the world, with an extraordinary variety of form and content. Each of the judges had different tastes and that is what we have tried to reflect in this list,” Le~CHECK~la Slimani, chair of the International Booker Prize 2023 judges, said in a statement.
The list, she said, is a celebration of the power of language and of authors who wanted to push formal enquiry as far as possible.
“We wanted to celebrate literary ambition, panache, originality and of course, through this, the talent of translators who have been able to convey all of this with great skill,” she said.
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