London: Indian-American author Akhil Sharma on Thursday won the prestigious 100,000-euro International Dublin Literary Award, the world’s richest award for a single novel, for his second novel ‘Family Life’.
The Delhi-born New Yorker has already bagged the 2015 Folio Prize worth 40,000 pounds for his autobiographical novel that tells the tale of how a family moves from Delhi to New York, where the older brother has an accident that leaves him brain-damaged and in need of 24-hour care.
“I got the email telling me I had won, my first thought was ‘thank God, another disappointment avoided’. It hurts when you don’t get something, so I was just relieved to not have pain,” the 44-year-old author told ‘The Guardian’ in Dublin.
“I don’t believe that a prize means it’s the best book. All a prize means is that it is the book which has won a prize, that it’s the one judges agreed on. But it’s a great honour, it’s a prize I have known about for decades, and I admire the books which have won,” he said.
Mr Sharma was named the winner from an initial list of 160 nominations by a panel of judges including novelists Ian Sansom, Juan Pablo Villalobos and Carlo Gacbler. ‘Family Life’ took the author nearly 13 years to write and now he plans to use some of the money from the award to set up a scholarship in his brother’s name, one of the key characters in the book.
The Irish prize is unusual in that contenders, which must be published in English or English translation, are nominated by public libraries from around the world, Mr Sharma’s work was put forward by the India International Centre library in New Delhi and by Jacksonville public library in the US.
The author is now working on a collection of short stories and hopes to complete it by the end of the year.