Sharma wins Folio prize, says wishes someone else wrote his book

It took him 13 years to write and publish it, or as he puts it, “my 30s,” but US author Akhil Sharma won the second annual Folio literary prize and 40,000 pounds ($59,752) on Monday for his novel “Family Life.” Sharma, 43, was selected from a shortlist of eight authors for the prize for his semi-autobiographical novel about an Indian family that immigrates to the US and the tragedy that “turns their American dream” into a “n

It took him 13 years to write and publish it, or as he puts it, andldquomy 30s,andrdquo but US author Akhil Sharma won the second annual Folio literary prize and 40,000 pounds ($59,752) on Monday for his novel andldquoFamily Life.

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Sharma, 43, was selected from a shortlist of eight authors for the prize for his semi-autobiographical novel about an Indian family that immigrates to the US and the tragedy that andldquoturns their American dreamandrdquo into a andldquonightmareandrdquo when one of their sons is severely brain damaged following an accident.

He draws on personal experience.

He was born in India and left for the US with his family when he was younger His brother was involved in an accident that left him brain damaged.

andldquoThis friend of mine began dating a woman and soon after she got sick so he began taking care of her He was there for her at the hospital, put the hospital bed together he was there for her when she died,andrdquo said Sharma

andldquoHe was with her for five years and he said andlsquoI donand#39t really love her that much.

Iand#39m glad somebody was there because itand#39s awful to be sick alone I just wish I hadnand#39t been the poor schmuckand#39 and I have that same feeling towards the book.andrdquo

An investment banker turned novelist, Sharma was born in Delhi and immigrated to the US in 1979.

His stories have been published in the New Yorker and in Atlantic Monthly, and have been included in andldquoThe Best American Short Storiesandrdquo and O Henry Prize collections. His first novel, andldquoAn Obedient Father,andrdquo won the 2001 Hemingway FoundationEN Award.

He spoke of his gladness that the book was receiving attention because it highlighted the important and often overlooked role of care-givers.

andldquoThe book itself is good.

I just wish someone else had written it. Writing it was like having to chew stones,andrdquo he said.

The awardand#39s sponsors say it is intended to recognize andldquothe best English-language fiction from around the worldandrdquo that has been published in Britain, regardless of form, genre or the authorand#39s nationality.

andldquoandlsquoFamily Lifeand#39 is a masterful novel of distilled complexity, about catastrophe and survival attachment and independence the tension between selfishness and responsibility,andrdquo British author William Fiennes, the chair of the judges, said in a statement announcing the winner of the prize, founded by the Folio Society, a publisher of deluxe classic books.

The other shortlisted titles in 2015 were andldquo10:04,andrdquo by Ben Lerner andldquoAll My Puny Sorrows,andrdquo by Miriam Toews andldquoDept. of Speculation,andrdquo by Jenny Offill andldquoDust,andrdquo by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor andldquoHow to Be Both,andrdquo by Ali Smith andldquoNora Webster,andrdquo by Colm Tandoacuteibandiacuten and andldquoOutline,andrdquo by Rachel Cusk.

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SOURCE: Today’s Zaman