Aravind Adiga Wins Man Booker Prize

Posted on October 14, 2008

Aravind Adiga has won the Man Booker prize for his debut novel The White Tiger, a story about India's class struggle.

Mr. Adiga, who lives in Mumbai, was born in India and brought up partly in Australia. He studied at Columbia and Oxford and is a former correspondent for Time magazine in India. He is the second youngest writer to win the award; Ben Okri was 32 when he won for The Famished Road in 1991.

Michael Portillo, a former cabinet minister and the chairman of this year's panel of judges, praised Mr. Adiga's novel, saying that the short list had contained a series of "extraordinarily readable page-turners." However, Mr. Adiga's book had prevailed, he said, "because the judges felt that it shocked and entertained in equal measure."

Mr. Adiga said his book was an "attempt to catch the voice of the men you meet as you travel through India - the voice of the colossal underclass. This voice was not captured," he added, "and I wanted to do so without sentimentality or portraying them as mirthless humorless weaklings as they are usually."

He was asked what he would do with the prize money; he replied "The first thing I am going to do is to find a bank that I can actually put it in." The youthful author beat out several popular books for the prize, including A Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant, The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher and A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz.

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