Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rana Dasgupta wins Commonwealth Writers' prize
British author's novel Solo takes award, with Best First Novel prize going to Australian Glenda Guest
Richard Lea , guardian.co.uk,  Monday 12 April 2010

Left - Star performer ... Rana Dasgupta

On the day when a band of former winners including AS Byatt, Louis de Bernières and Andrea Levy called for governments around the world to "find new ways to support literacy", and hoped that this award would help, the British writer Rana Dasgupta has won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' prize with his novel of two halves, Solo. The Australian writer Glenda Guest has won the Best First Novel award with Siddon Rock.

Dasgupta's second novel, which examines the impact of the 20th century on Bulgaria through the life and dreams of an ageing chemist, controversially won the Guardian's inaugural Not the Booker prize last year, a development that the author found "very depressing". On this occasion, speaking on the phone from the ceremony at the International India Centre this afternoon, Dasgupta pronounced himself delighted to have won the £10,000 award.
"This news is about five minutes old," he said, "so I'm a little stunned." According to Dasgupta there has been much discussion of the pressure English exerts on languages around the world during the week of workshops, readings and discussions in Delhi attended by the shortlisted authors, "but there are still huge benefits to the global reach of English".
The traditional invitation for an audience with the Queen, refused by Mark Haddon and Caryl Phillips in 2004, is unlikely to be rebuffed.
"I actually have had a number of questions that I've wanted to put to the Queen for a long time," said Dasgupta, "so if I was to be invited I'd be delighted to get the chance."
Full story at The Guardian.

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