In February 2011 Karunatilaka made his authorial debut with Chinaman, a novel published by Random House, India. Prior to this publication, Karunatilaka had written advertisements, rock songs and travel stories.
The prize’s shortlist included five other titles: Bharathipura by U.R. Ananthamurthy (translated by Susheela Punitha), A Street in Srinagar by Chandrakanta (translated by Manisha Chaudhry), Monkey-man by Usha K.R, The Thing About Thugs by Tabish Khair and The Story that Must Not Be Told by Kavery Nambisan.
Jury chairperson Ira Pande explained the judges’ thought process: “The jury unanimously chose this year’s winner. While this fact in itself is a historic one for book juries are notorious for spirited battles over lists and winners, let me add that this year’s winner is also important for several other reasons. The winning title is a brilliant narration of all that is both great and sad about South Asia and in that sense it brings a world to the reader that needs to be seen outside this region. No longer are novelists who write of violence, breakdown of communities and the old way of life able to speak the whole truth about our world.”
This article first appeared HERE.