‘Moment of pride’: Wishes pour in as Geetanjali Shree’s ‘Tomb of Sand’ becomes first Hindi novel to win International Booker Prize

As a matter of immense pride for the country, Indian author Geetanjali Shree’s translated Hindi Novel, Tomb of Sand, has won the prestigious International Booker Prize, becoming the first novel in any Indian language to receive this award. Originally published in Hindi as ‘Ret Samadhi‘, it is translated into English by Daisy Rockwell.

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The novel follows the journey of an 80-year-old woman who slips into a deep depression after the death of her husband but then resurfaces to gain a new lease on life.

In her acceptance speech, the author said, “There is a melancholy satisfaction in the award going to it. ‘Ret Samadhi/Tomb of Sand’ is an elegy for the world we inhabit, a lasting energy that retains hope in the face of impending doom. The Booker will surely take it to many more people than it would have reached otherwise, that should do the book no harm.”

Many people took to social media to wish the author and express happiness at the win.

“Yessss! Translator Daisy Rockwell and author Geetanjali Shree win the International Booker for ‘Tomb of Sand’ (‘Ret Samadhi’ in the original). A first win for a Hindi novel, an Indian novel, and a south Asian novel. Congratulations!” literary translator Arunava Sinha tweeted, congratulating the author for this massive win.

Member of Parliament Varun Gandhi, too, took to Twitter to express his wishes. “A matter of great pride that Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand – translated from Ret Samadhi, her brilliant Hindi novel – has won the Booker Prize…,” he wrote.

Calling it “a moment of pride”, Pema Khandu, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, said, “Congratulations to the author of Geetanjali Shree for winning 2022 @TheBookerPrizes for her Hindi translated novel ‘Tomb of Sand’. Originally published in Hindi as ‘Ret Samadhi’, it is the first book in any Indian language to win the prestigious award.”

“It’s great, Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand, translated from Hindi, has won the Booker. India’s finest literary works exist in its languages. It’s time these were discovered. The world has already discovered that many of the most amazing writers and poets in English are Indian,” media personality Pritish Nandy wrote on Twitter.

“Hearty congratulations to Geetanjali Shree ji & @shreedaisy for winning the International Booker Prize 2022. This is a big boost to the literary translations in India and “Tomb of Sand” showcases the depth and richness of literature in various languages of India,” the official Twitter handle of Sahitya Akademi wrote.

Here are some other reactions:

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