In a first, on Indian author’s Hindi novel on International Booker shortlist.

An Indian author’s Hindi language book translated into English is all poised to win the Booker this year.

‘Tomb of sand’ by Indian author Geetanjali Shree has become the first Hindi language fiction to be shortlisted for the International Booker Prize.

Shree’s book, translated into English by Daisy Rockwell was found to be ” loud and irresistible” by the judges. Titled ‘Ret ka samadhi’ in Hindi, Shree’s novel is about an 80-year-old-woman who slips into a deep depression after her husband’s death. To find a new life for herself, she decides to travel to Pakistan and confront her unresolved trauma and teenage experiences of Partition.

“It is a recognition of a special kind,” said the Uttar Pradesh born Shree, who has already authored three novels and a series of short stories. Her works have been translated into French, German, Korean English and Serbian languages.

“The constantly shifting timeframes of Shree’s inventive, energetic ‘Tomb of Sand’ lead us into every cranny of an 80-year-old woman’s life and surprising past” said the judges about the novel which also has the protagonist re-evaluating what it means to be a woman, feminist, a mother and a daughter.

Shree’s novel will compete with five other books from across the globe for the £50,000 literary prize. The prize money, if Shree wins, will be divided equally between her and the translator of the book, Daisy.

“I am a bit stupefied and very delighted,” Geetanjali Shree told a leading Indian newspaper in an interview. “Something wonderful has happened to me. For me, it’s a proud Hindi moment,” she added. Shree said she has her mother to thank for her proficiency in Hindi as she always conversed with her mother in Hindi at home.

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