Geetanjali Shree Bagged Booker of 2022

INDIAN AUTHOR BAGGED BOOKER OF 2022 

Geetanjali Shree bagged booker of 2022

TABLE OF CONTENTS :

1. Introduction : Geetanjali Shree booked booker of 2022 2. The Statements of the Judges Panellists 3. Writer’s Competitors 4. Booker Prize 5. Tomb of Sand: Who Published 6. About Geetanjali and her books. 7. Short Bio 8. Others Novels 9. Academic Publications 10. Literary Criticism: Tomb of Sand 11. Conclusion 

Geetanjali Shree, an Indian author bagged the prestigious literary award for her novel ” Ret Samadhi ” of the English translation “Tomb of Sand”. The book wins Booker Prize. 

Originally written in Hindi. It’s the first book in any Indian language to win the International Booker Prize, which recognizes fiction from around the world that has been translated into English.

       Geetanjali Shree poses with the 2022 International Booker Prize award for handle ‘Tomb of Sand’ in London, Thursday. 

Geetanjali Shree & Daisy Rockwell/ Geetanjali Shree bagged booker of 2022

       Indian writer Geetanjali Shree and American translator Daisy Rockwell won the International Booker Prize on Thursday for “Tomb of Sand,” a vibrant novel with a boundary-crossing -old heroine.

 Geetanjali Shree’s exuberant and magical novel Ret Samadhi and Daisy Rockwell’s utterly brilliant translation Tomb of Sand winning the International Booker Prize is well deserved in every sense of the word.

Originally written in Hindi, it’s the first book in any Indian language to win the high-profile award, which recognizes fiction from around the world that has been translated into English.

      The 50,000-pound ($63,000) prize money will be split between New Delhi-based Shree and Rockwell, who lives in Vermont.

THE STATEMENT OF THE JUDGES PANELIST 

One of the panelists, Translator Frank Wayne, who chaired the judging panel, said the judges “overwhelmingly” chose “Tomb of Sand” after “a very passionate debate.”

The book tells the story of an octogenarian widow who dares to cast off convention and confront the ghosts of her experiences during the subcontinent’s tumultuous 1947 partition into India and Pakistan.

Wynne said that despite confronting traumatic events, “it is an extraordinarily exuberant and incredibly playful book.”

“It manages to take issues of great seriousness — bereavement, loss, death — and conjure up an extraordinary choir, almost a cacophony, of voices,” he said.

“It is extraordinarily fun and it is extraordinarily funny.”

WRITER’S COMPETITORS 

Shree’s book beat five other finalists including Polish Nobel literature laureate Olga Tokarczuk, Claudia Piñeiro of Argentina and South Korean author Bora Chung to be awarded the prize at a ceremony in London. 

BOOKER PRIZE: Geetanjali Shree booked booker of 2022

The International Booker Prize is awarded every year to a translated work of fiction published in the U.K. or Ireland. It is run alongside the Booker Prize for English-language fiction.

The prize was set up to boost the profile of fiction in other languages — which accounts for only a small share of books published in Britain — and to salute the often unacknowledged work of literary translators.

Wynne said the prize is to show that “literature in translation is not some form of cod liver oil that is supposed to be good for you.”

TOM OF SAND: WHO  PUBLISHED IT? Geetanjali Shree bagged booker of 2022

“Tomb of Sand” is published ed in Britain by a small publisher Tilted Axis Press. It was founded by translator Deborah Smith — who won the 2016 International Booker for translating Han Kangm9’s “The Vegetarian” — to publish books from Asia.

“Tomb of Sand” is published ed in Britain by a small publisher Tilted Axis Press. It was founded by translator Deborah Smith — who won the 2016 International Booker for translating Han Kangm9’s “The Vegetarian” — to publish books from Asia.

The novel has not yet been published in the United States, but Wynne said he expected that to change with “a flurry of offers” after its Booker victory.

    In Britain, “I would be gobsmacked if it didn’t increase its sales by more than 1,000% in the next week,” Wynne said. “Possibly more.”

ABOUT GEETANJALI & HER BOOK 

Indian Author Geetanjali Shree

Her new book, Tomb of Sand, has become the first novel translated from Hindi to make it to the International Booker Prize longlist. 

          Her storytelling involves unusual twists; the translation by Daisy Rockwell is a tour de force. See why Shree writes as she does.

Shree plays with words and form in her novel about -an octogenarian- Indian woman who steps back into her pre-Partition past. 

     ‘Why must a book be easy to read? Often the language is treated as just the carrier of ideas, of the story. For me, age has its presence and independent personality,’ she says.  

      Geetanjali Shreee plays with words and form in her novel about an -old Indian woman who steps back into her pre-Partition past. 

The plot:  author Geetanjali Shree

       Her new book, Tomb of Sand, has become the first novel translated from Hindi to make it to the International Booker Prize longlist. 

          Her storytelling involves unusual twists; the translation by Daisy Rockwell is a tour de force. See why Shree writes as she does.

       When Geetanjali Shree turned 19 and was showing every sign of growing into an independent-minded young woman, her father gave her a hundred-rupee note as a birthday present.

 It’s a matter of fact that a  hundred rupees was quite a lot of money in the 1970s, and birthdays were rarely celebrated then, even less so in small-town of Uttar Pradesh. 

After giving the note, he  said to her, “You may marry any boy of your choice, so long as he’s a Brahmin and in the IAS.” 

          Her father, an IAS officer, wanted her to take the civil services exam too. Shree smiles at the memory. If he were still around (he passed away in 2002), he’d probably be delighted with what she did instead.

A brilliant, celebrated Hindi writer, with five novels and five short-story collections to her credit, Shree’s latest and fifth novel is ” Ret Samadhi”.

     It’s translated into English as “Tomb of Sand” by American translator and writer Daisy Rockwell. And ultimately, it has been longlisted for the International Booker Prize (alongside 12 other books). 

      It is the first novel translated from Hindi to be in the running for the prestigious award. Shree has made literary history.

     When the book’s UK publisher, Tilted Axis, sent her word two days before the public announcement of the list, Shree says she didn’t quite grasp the implication. “I was pleased, of course,” she says. “But I was a bit detached.”

Undoubtedly, it’s a great honour, but she began to feel humbled and grateful. 

                       “It would be most disrespectful of me not to realise the main-samaan given to me. Can anyone claim this is the only Hindi work worthy of honour? Of course not.

                  But I feel a sense of wonderment about my work, that so many people, sitting so far away, have read the book and liked it.”

At hefty 700-plus pages, Ret Samadhi / Tomb of Sand is the story of an 80-year-old Indian woman. Recently, she loses her husband. So she is dejected and turns her back on her life and her family, and travels to Pakisan, to meet past. 

      That description cannot begin to do justice to the complexity of the story and characters, or the novel’s unique literary style. 

       Some chapters, for instance, are just a single sentence; in another chapter, a single sentence stretches over the pages. An interviewer described the varying lengths as reminiscent of an ECG graph.

Mainly, the way Shree uses words, creating an almost musical rhythm, pairing words that roll into one another; pairing others that sound the same but mean lately different things.

     This also makes Ret Samadhi / Tomb of Sand a demanding, and an extremely challenging book to translate. “Why must a book be easy to read?” Shree says. “I enjoy the audio quality of language, I enjoy turns of phrase.

     ”  Language is all about breath, not just easy breathing but fun breathing, different kinds of breathing. But you can’t have erratic breathing wh will make you collapse. There has to be balanced.

        Often the language is treated as just the carrier of ideas, of the story. For me, language has its presence and independent personality.”

When Ret Samadhi was first released, in 2019, Shree sent a copy to French translator Annie Montaut, who translated Shree’s 1993 novel, Mai.

        As soon as she read the book, Montaut announced she was going to translate it. “She found a publisher. I never even met them,” says Shree. 

       “It was shortlisted for the Emile Guimet prize in 2021, which was wonderful. Both Annie and Daisy asked me such detailed questions about the book, I had to research myself and my book often, to answer them.”

         Daisy’s translation is a tour de force, all the more remarkable since Shree and she has never met.

Shree’s journey as a Hindi writer was probable balanced when she was still a child, growing up in small towns across Uttar Pradesh. Used to attend sophisticated kavi sammelans or poetry meets to learn Hindi and poetry as well. 

       Even used to attend the street magazine and children’s magazines. But mostly she was indebted to her mother.  Most of the time, I talked to her mother in Hindi. “I always spoke to my mother in Hindi. My Hindi was nurtured by her ”. 

     She says. “When I went away to college in Delhi, I wrote long letters to her in Hindi. She’s 96 today and she’s picked up enough English, but it’s not her comfortable language.”

When Shree started writing, she dabbled in English at first, but soon realised that Hindi was the language she wanted to express herself. 

     The question she is still asked most often, she says, is: Why do you write in Hindi (the unsaid rest of the question being, “when you could very well write in English” Kavi

      “This could only happen in an ex-coloncountry,” she says. “Here, people can say, ‘Oh, I can’t read Hindi’ o ‘Hindi is so difficult,’ without being embarrassed or ashamed in the least. Some say I with pride.” 

She pauses, then adds, 

 “English is the language of power, it’s the link language of the world and you must learn it by all means. But that doesn’t mean one should be ignorant of one’s rich lineage, or be proud of that ignorance!”

Shree’s first few stories were published in the 1980s, in the prestigious Hindi literary journal Hans. Like many writers, she says she needs absolute peace and solitude to write. 

However, she and her academic husband lead quiet lives in Delhi. She often escapes to write, sometimes retreating to a rubber plantation in Kerala, sometimes to writers’ residencies abroad.

       Shree has just completed her sixth novel Sah-Sa (which Hindi readers will recognise as a play on the words sahsa or suddenly; sah or together; Saha, to endure; income as in “bad sa Ghar”). 

She hasn’t sent it to the publisher yet. Why the hesitancy?

 “Maybe it’s the Covid years. Maybe the world feels like it’s turning upside down,” she says. “Is there a tomorrow? Is the d going to reinvent itself or are we heading towards doom? I’ll send the manuscript to the publisher when I feel ready.”

Geetanjali Shree was born in 1957, also known as Geetanjali Pandey[a]. She is a Hindi novelist and short-story writer based in New Delhi, India. She is the author of several short stories and five novels. 

Her 2000 novel Mai was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award in 2001.[2] and was translated into English by Nita Kumar which was re-published by Niyogi Books in 2017. 

       Aside from fiction, she has written critical works on Premchand.

SHORT BIO

1957 (age 64–65)

Genre

Novels, bad stories

Notable works

Tomb of Sand

Notable awards

International Booker Prize (2022)

Personal life

Geetanjali was born in the city of Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh state.[5] As her father was a civil servant, her family lived in various towns of Uttar Pradesh. 

       She claims it was this upbringing in Uttar Pradesh, along with a lack of children’s books in English, that gave her a rich connection to Hindi.[1] She is ancestrally from Ghazipur District, Gondaur village.[6]

At university, she studied history. She completed a BA at Lady Shri Ram College and an MA at Jawaharlal Nehru University. 

         After beginning her PhD work at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda on the writer Premchand, she became more interested in Hindi literature.[7]

 She wrote her first short story while in school,[8] and turned to write after completing her PhD.[7]

OTHERS NOVELS

Her first story, “Bel Patra” (1987), was published in the literary magazine Hans and was followed by a collection of short stories by Anugoonj (1991).[1][9][10]

The English translation of her novel Mai catapulted her to fame. The novel is about three generations of women and the men around them, in a North Indian middle-class family. 

               Mai has been translated into several languages, including Serbian and Korean. It has also been translated into English by Nita Kumar, who was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize, and into Urdu by Bashir Unwan with a preface by Intizar Hussain.[1] 

Other translations of the novel include French by Annie Montaut and German by Reinhold Schein.

Shree’s second novel Hamthe ara Shahar Us Baras is set loosely after the incidents of the Babri Masjid demolition.[1]

Her fourth novel, Khālī jagah (2006), has been translated into English (by Nivedita Menon as The writing pace), French (by Nicola Pozza as Une place vide), and German (by Georg Lechner and Nivedita Menon as I’m leeren Raum).

Her fifth novel, Ret Samadhi (2018), has baby en commended for its sweeping imagination and sheer power of language, unprecedented and uninhibited.[11] It has been translated into English by Daisy Rockwell as Tomb of Sand, and into French by Annie Montaut as Au-delà de la frontière.

       On 26 May 2022, Tomb of Sand won the International Booker Prize, becoming the first book in Hindi and the first from an Indian writer to receive the accolade.[12]

ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS 

Between Two Worlds: An Intellectual Biography of Premchand[13]

“Premchand and Industrialism: A Study in Attitudinal Ambivalence”, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, XIX(2), 1982 [14]

“Premchand and the Peasantry: Constrained Radthe localism”, Economic and Political Weekly, XVIII(26), 25 June 1983.[15]

“The North Indian Intelligentsia and the Hindu-Muslim Question”[16]

AWARDS 

Geetanjali Shree is the recipient of the Indu Sharma Katha Samman award[10] and has beI’m a fellow of the Ministry of Culture, India, and Japan Foundation. 

    She also participates in theatre and works with Vivaldi, a theatre group comprising writers, artists, dancers, and painters.[1] In 2022, Tomb of Sand became the first Hindi-language novel shortlisted for the International Booker Prize[17][18] and subsequently won the prize.[4][19]

LITERARY CRITICISM: TOMB OF SAND 

Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand is a border-bending work of fiction.

In more ways than one, ‘Tomb of Sand’ is an ode to the rich history of storytelling in South Asia. It exists, like all great stories, in liminal and discernible spaces at once.

Fiction allows one to taste possibilities. But its principal function is to record events whose truths cannot or couldn’t be documented by historians.

   Of course, it reveals the character of a time, age, and culture. One such tale, a novel, that ‘tells itself’ and has come closest to articulating truths that can only be supplied in fiction, is Geetanjali Shree’s Ret Samadhi, translated into English as Tomb of Sand (Penguin, 2022) by Daisy Rockwell. 

      It has created history for the first South Asian novel to win the International Booker Prize. Like many, who are swooned reading its assiduous English translation, the thought to describe it paralyses me, too.

Is it a Partition novel? Or a fiercely feminist fable? Or an utterly fresh candidate of the ‘stream of consciousness’ literature? Or is it the response that you get when you ask yourself: What if Ducks, Newburyport had not one, but several sentences, and had as many themes as it did or stories it told, but was written in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and English? 

              Perhaps something ground-breaking like Tomb of Sand must defy categorisation, for a new world demands rejection of the old ways of boxing, fetishizing, and labelling. It must stand as a testimony to itself.

   After demise of her husband, she was always mournful and depressing . She used to atay on the side of Samadhi.  Each family member tries to break her trance-like meditative state but to no avai.

Perhaps she’s depressed? Maybe she’s planning her next move while her son Bade is concerned regarding getting cheque books signed or even blank papers because you never know. 

        Bade’s wife, Bahu, wears Reeboks and feels no one respects her sacrifices or even takes cognisance of them. And two grandsons: Overseas (formerly Serious) Son and Sid — Granny’s favourite.

     In creating a character like Ma, Shree not only crosses a boundary, she builds a world of possibilities where nothing is an exception but weirdly normal. 

Sample this: 

“In a story, you make whatever you want [to] happen, otherwise, how could you push a real woman through a crack in the wall like a pail and pick her up on the other side and splash her about?”

The many narrators of this novel utter myriad things that convince you that the story is digressing quite often, but there’s a method to this madness. You simply need to trust it. And when you do, then you’ll meet two ‘other’ women: 

(1) Beti — the runaway daughter who brought shame to the family, she is a freelancer, feminist, and women’s rights activist, and

 (2) Rosie — a Hijra, or other in every way, who stands and performs at the border of gender. Rosie’s arrival in this story is no declaration of a new narrative arc, but a shifting of borders, for soon Ma verbalises her desire to visit Pakistan.

       While Ma was definitely ‘recovering’ in Beti’s flat, she didn’t see that coming. It’s true that given her age, Ma’s family is bound to fulfil her desire, but they wondered whether it’s worth crossing the border to do that, risking everyone’s life.

Shree writes: “Anything worth doing transcends borders.” And so, Ma did cross the border, along with her daughter without a visa. Because she came that way. Didn’t she?

And who can tell her where she belongs: here or there? Does she need anyone’s permission to cross the border just because two governments decided to draw a line? 

    So whenever she is enquired about her whereabouts by inspectors and officials in Pakistan, she keeps offering humorous and sarcastic responses. She even delivers a monologue on borders.

  It at once is a narrative necessity and a stubborn choice, but it helps build suspense. And every mystery must be preserved until the time is right because Melissa Febos noted in Girlhood: Essays (Bloomsbury) that a “mystery solved is always a death: that of possibility, denial, the dream of our invincibility.”

Part humorous, part dark, part wholesome, and part unbearable, this book allows its readers a glimpse of its many worlds through wordplay. 

      Does Rockwell mention the original — is the translation not original? — has words in English, too. She deliberately leaves many things untranslated. And that makes it more wonderful, accessible, and original. 

         Reading this book also reminded me of what Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi wrote in their exceptional epistolary memoir Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir (Faber & Faber):

 “Speaking to other people, though, requires channelling who or what I am into a language they can understand. It requires folding.”

     Tomb of Sand is that attempt at folding, to make people look inwards: to re-examine this “age of excess”, to be tolerant to the ‘other’, to be respectful of one’s choices.

Above all, the story tells us to have faith in literature, for stories — even the most traumatic ones like Partition — exist someplace where the borders of consciousness get blurred.

This is the story of what happens and one can approach reality anew.

The funny, engaging and deeply original novel tells the tale of an 80-year-old woman. It happens somewhere in northern India. The octogenarian dejected woman slipped into a deep depression after the death of her husband.

She resigned from the world and turns to the wall and almost becomes captivated by it, unspeaking, unmoving and unresponsive even to her dearest grandson

Author Geetanjali Shree’s Hindi novel Tomb of Sand’ has become the first book Rockwell mentioned gauge to win the prestigious International Booker Prize.

At a ceremony in London on Thursday, the New Delhi-based writer said she was completely overwhelmed with the “bolt from the blue” as she accepted her prize, worth GBP 50,000 and shared it with the book’s English translator, Daisy Rockwell.

‘Tomb of Sand’, originally ‘Ret Samadhi’, is set in northern India and follows an 80-year-old woman in a tale the Booker judges dubbed a joyous cacophony and aa n “irresistible novel”.

“I never dreamt of the Booker, I never thought I could. What a huge recognition, I’m amazed, delighted, honoured and humbled,” Shree said in her acceptance speech.

“There is a melancholy satisfaction in the award going to it. Ret Samadhi/Tomb of Sand’ is an elegy for the world we inhabit, lasting energy that retains hope in the face of impending doom. The Booker will surely take it to many more people than it would have reached otherwise, that should do the book no harm,” she said.

Reflecting upon becoming the first work of fiction in Hindi to make the Booker a cut, the 64-year-old author said it feels good to be the means of that happening.

“But behind me and this book lies a rich and flourishing literary tradition in Hindi and other South Asian languages. World literature will be richer for knowing some of the finest writers in these languages. The vocabulary of life will increase from such an interaction,” she said.

Rockwell, a painter, writer and translator living in Vermont, US, joined her on stage to receive her award for translating the novel she described as a love letter to tit the Hindi language”.

“Ultimately, we were captivated by the Sandhu poignancy and the playfulness of Tomb of Sand’, Geetanjali Shree’s polyphonic novel of identity and belonging, in Daisy Rockwell’s exuberant, coruscating translation,” said Frank Wynne, chair of the judging panel.

“This is a luminous novel of India and partition, but one whose spellbinding brio and fierce compassion weaves youth and age, male and female, family and nation into a kaleidoscopic whole,” he said.

The  80-year-old protagonist, Ma, to her family’s consternation, insists on travelling to Pakistan, simultaneously confronting the unresolved trauma of her teenage experiences of Partition, and are-evaluating what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman, a feminist.

The Booker jury was impressed that rather than respond to tragedy with seriousness, Shree’s playful tone and exuberant wordplay resulted in a book that is engaging, funny, and utterly original, at the same time as being an aunt and timely protest against the destructive impact orders and boundaries, whether between religions, countries, or genders.

The author of three novels and several story collections, Mainpuri-born Shree has translated her works into English, French, German, Serbian, and Korean.

Originally published in Hindi in 2018, Tomb of Sand’ is the first of her books to be published in the UK in English by Tilted Axis Press in August 2021.

Shree’s novel was chosen from a shortlist of six books. The other books are :

  1. : Cursed Bunny’ by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur from Korean;
  2. A New Name: Septology VI-VII’ by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls from Norwegian;
  3. Heaven’ by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Samuel Bett and David Boyd from Japanese;
  4. Elena Knows’ by Claudia Pietro, translated by Frances Riddle from Spanish; and
  5. The Books of Jacob’ by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft from Polish.
CONCLUSION Rabindranath Tagore On Jesus Christ

This year the judges considered 135 books and for the first time in 2022, all shortlisted authors and translators will each receive GBP 2,500, an increase from GBP 1,000 in previous years bringing the total value of the prize.

Complementing the Booker Prize for Fiction, the international prize is awarded every year for a single result that is translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.

Reference: World Book Day

  1. This is a complying content written following renowned newspapers, recently published in India and abroad. These are The Wall, The Hindu, Times of India, Indian Express, and Hindusthan Standard. 
  2. Encyclopedia: Geetanjali Shree ( Pandey)

 

Total
0
Shares
1 comment
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts
Total
0
Share