‘Tomb Of Sand’ Wins 2022 International Booker Prize
Geetanjali Shree’s novel “Tomb of Sand,” translated by Daisy Rockwell and published by Penguin India, has won the 2022 International Booker Prize. This is the first time a work translated from the Hindi language was nominated for and won the prestigious prize. The award honors translations from other languages into English.
Last Thursday in London, “Tomb of Sand,” a novel by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell and published by Penguin India, was awarded the International Booker Prize 2022. The International Booker Prize is the international counterpart to the Booker Prize, the foremost literary award in the English-speaking world. The International Booker Prize is awarded annually to novels translated into English from other languages and published in the U.K. or Ireland. “Tomb of Sand” made Booker history from the very beginning. This was the first time ever that a work translated from Hindi was even nominated for the prestigious prize, and then shortlisted. The prize is endowed with a purse of £50,000, which is split between the author and the translator. Besides Geetanjali Shree’s award-winning work, Penguin Random House also had “The Books Of Jacob” by Nobel Prize laureate Olga Tokarczuk (Riverhead) on this year’s shortlist.
“Tomb of Sand” was originally published in Hindi in 2018 under the title “Ret Samadhi.” Penguin India then published the English translation in March 2022. The work has already won an English PEN Award. The novel tells the story of an 80-year-old woman in northern India who begins a completely new life after the death of her husband. Her determination to defy all conventions - which includes befriending a transgender person - confounds her rather staid daughter, who is used to seeing herself as the more “modern” of the two. To her family’s dismay, the old woman insists on traveling to Pakistan, where she confronts the unresolved trauma of her experiences as a teenager during the India-Pakistan partition, and reevaluates what it means to be a mother, daughter, wife, and feminist.
“This is not just about me, the individual. I represent a language and culture and this recognition brings into larger purview the entire world of Hindi literature in particular and Indian literature as a whole,” said Geetanjali Shree in her acceptance speech, adding that she had never dreamt of the booker, never thought she could. Her book, the author noted, is an elegy for the world we inhabit, a laughing elegy that retains hope in the face of impending doom.” Translator Daisy Rockwell also expressed her gratitude and beyond this her awe at the feat performed by the judges, who had read a total of 135 books to select this year’s winning title.
“I am overjoyed to see the love, praise, and appreciation that Tomb of Sand has received from readers across the world,” says Rea Mukherjee, Commissioning Editor at Penguin Random House India. Penguin India is privileged to represent Geetanjali and Daisy, and she hopes we see many books from the pair. Meru Gokhale, Publisher, Penguin Press, at Penguin Random House India, adds: “It’s a landmark day for Indian publishing. This win honors Geetanjali Shree’s genius, and Daisy Rockwell’s brilliant translation. Just as excitingly, it also opens up possibilities for so many other writers and translators who I hope will now reach international readers.”