Geetanjali Shree’s Translated Novel by American Daisy Rockwell on Booker Shortlist
NEW DELHI (IANS) – Critically acclaimed author Geetanjali Shree’s novel “Tomb of Sand”, translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell, has been shortlisted for this year’s International Booker Prize – the first time the translation of a Hindi language book has been nominated.
“Tomb of Sand” was first published in Hindi as “Ret Samadhi” in 2018 and Penguin India released its English translation in 2022. This book has also been the winner of the English Pen Award.
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 winner of the prize will be announced on May 26.
One of the finest works by Geetanjali Shree, “Tomb of Sand” has received a lot of appreciation from readers, who have applauded 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 the destructive impact on borders and boundaries, whether between religions, countries, or gender.
“It is recognition of a very special kind,” Shree said. “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,” she added.
Rockwell said: “I am honored and overjoyed that the International Booker Committee has chosen to include ‘Tomb of Sand’ for the shortlist. The longlisting had brought the book many new readers around the world, in English and in Hindi as well.”
“It has also created an awareness of Indian literature 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,” she added.
Author of three novels and several story collections, Shree lives in New Delhi. Rockwell is an artist, writer and translator and lives in the US. 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.