International Booker 2023
Perumal Murugan’s novel ‘Pyre’, which deals with caste-based discrimination, has been nominated for the 2023 International Booker Prize longlist. Originally written in Tamil under the title ‘Pukkuli’, the book follows the story of a couple from different castes who flee their village, triggering a dark and ominous tale. The book was translated into English by Aniruddhan Vasudevan in 2016.
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The International Booker Prize awards a cash prize of £50,000 (approximately Rs 50 lakh), which is divided equally between the author and translator, for a translated novel or short story collection published in the UK or Ireland. Perumal Murugan, a 56-year-old Tamil writer from Salem, Tamil Nadu, expressed his joy at being chosen for the 2023 longlist of the International Booker Prize. He also highlighted the issue of honor killings as a significant problem in India.
About the Pyre
‘Pyre’ is a novel by Tamil writer Perumal Murugan. It deals with the issue of caste-based discrimination and tells the story of a young couple from different castes who elope, triggering a chain of events that exposes the deep-seated prejudices and violence in their community. The book was originally written in Tamil under the title ‘Pukkuli’ and was translated into English by Aniruddhan Vasudevan in 2016.
In his novel ‘Pyre’, Perumal Murugan challenges the notion that small villages and rural areas are always idyllic, and instead depicts the darker realities of caste-based discrimination and violence. The jury for the International Booker Prize recognized Murugan as a skilled observer of power dynamics and the corrosive effects of caste hatred. In 2022, Geetanjali Shree made history by becoming the first Indian writer to win the International Booker Prize for her book ‘Tomb of Sand’, which was translated into English by Daisy Rockwell.
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