First time novelist, Aravind Adiga and Amitav Ghosh have been shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize.
Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, is the story of Balram Halwai who dreams of escaping his life as a teashop worker turned chauffeur. Yet when his chance finally arrives and his eyes are opened to the revelatory city of New Delhi, Balram becomes caught between his instinct to be a loyal son and servant and his desire to better himself. As he passes through two different Indias on his journey from the darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success, he begins to realise how the Tiger might finally escape his cage,
Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies is set just before the Opium Wars. This novel has at its heart an old slaving-ship, The Ibis and its crew, a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a truly diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt Raja to a widowed villager, from an evangelical English opium trader to a mulatto American freedman.
Michael Portillo, Chair of Judges, comments:
“The judges commend the six titles to readers with great enthusiasm. These novels are intensely readable, each of them an extraordinary example of imagination and narrative. These fine page-turning stories nonetheless raise highly thought-provoking ideas and issues.”
The six authors represent a broad geographical spread. he youngest on the list, at 34 years old, is Aravind Adiga. The winner receives £50,000 and can look forward to greatly increased sales and worldwide recognition. Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer bound edition of their own book.
The judging panel for the 2008 Man Booker Prize for Fiction is: Michael Portillo, former MP and Cabinet Minister; Alex Clark, editor of Granta; Louise Doughty, novelist; James Heneage, founder of Ottakar’s bookshops and Hardeep Singh Kohli, TV and radio broadcaster.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday 14th October at a dinner at the Guildhall, London. The announcement will be broadcast live on BBC One’s 10 O’Clock News.
On Monday 13th October, the eve of the winner announcement, the Southbank Centre in London will host an evening of readings and discussion with the 2008 shortlisted authors.
Tickets are available from