Hindi novel in International Booker Prize 2022 longlist

Critically-acclaimed author Geetanjali Shree’s novel Tomb of Sand, translated from the Hindi by Daisy Rockwell, has been nominated for this year’s International Booker Prize. The 64-year-old author’s fifth novel is among 13 titles in competition for the prestigious award for translated fiction, a 50,000-pound prize split evenly between author and translator. This is the first time a translation of a Hindi language book has been nominated for the International Booker Prize.

11 Mar 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

Tomb of Sand was first published in Hindi as Ret Samadhi in 2018

Tomb of Sand was first published in Hindi as Ret Samadhi in 2018. Penguin is releasing the English translation in March 2022. Elsewhere, the book has been published by Tilted Axis. The book has also won the English Pen Award.

The 2022 longlist includes books from 12 countries and translated from 11 languages.

Shree and her translator Daisy Rockwell are up against previous winner and Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk, whose epic novel The Books of Jacob has been called her “magnum opus”, and took Jennifer Croft seven years to translate. Previous winners David Grossman and his translator Jessica Cohen have also made this year’s longlist for More Than I Love My Life, a multigenerational family novel.

Two more titles from Shree’s publishing house Tilted Axis have been selected: Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu and translator Tiffany Tsao, and Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park and translator Anton Hur.

The small not-for-profit press mostly publishes Asian writers and was founded in 2015 by Deborah Smith, who translated the Man Booker International prize-winning The Vegetarian by Han Kang. The 2022 longlist, which as usual is dominated by titles from independent presses, is the first time Tilted Axis has had books selected by the prize.

Daisy Rockwell said, ‘Tomb of Sand is a rich, beautiful, experimental work. It was an honour to work with Geetanjali Shree to create the English translation. I am beyond thrilled that the International Booker Prize jury has chosen our book for the long list.’

Rea Mukherjee, commissioning editor, Penguin Random House India, said, ‘Geetanjali Shree is a master storyteller and probably one of the finest Indian writers currently writing in an Indian language. Reading this book was a thrilling experience, given its precision but also its simplicity. Daisy Rockwell is incredible at what she does, with her attention to detail and nuance shining through, making this author–translator pairing perfect. Tomb of Sand is truly an insightful and a one-of-a-kind Partition novel, and I am pleased and honoured that it found a home with us.’

The shortlist of six titles will be announced on 7 April 2022.