The Commonwealth Writers today (June 8) adjudged Shehan Karunatilaka as the winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize for his novel Chinaman:The legend of Pradeep Mathew
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize was won by Emma Martin for Two Girls in a boat. The awards were presented at Hay Festival by the multiple prize-winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Commonwealth Writers is a new cultural programme within the Commonwealth Foundation which develops, connects and inspires writers. By awarding prizes and running on-the-ground activities, it works in partnership with international literary organisations, the wider cultural industries and civil society to help writers develop their craft in the fifty four countries of the Commonwealth.
Shehan Karunatilaka was born in Galle and having studied Business and Administration at Massey University in New Zealand he worked as an advertising copywriter. He has also written rock songs, travel stories and basslines.
In a statement Shehan said of the award, “It's incredible considering where the book began. I wasn't certain that it would be published outside of Colombo when I was writing it. I was surprised to make it to the final five, considering how strong the Asia shortlist was. To win it is quite crazy. Now I just need to find a pub in Wales that serves arrack. It's a privilege to be part of a global prize that has recognised so many great writers over the years. I feel deeply honoured.”
Pictured above is Shehan signing a book for fan at the Jaipur Festival this year
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Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew by Shehan Karunatilaka. Reviewed
by Richard Simon
Shehan’s winning googly
“I didn’t really know what direction it was going in, so I just wanted to collect cricket stories and there were a lot of them,” says Gratiaen Prize winner Shehan Karunatilaka, discussing his award winning creation and passion for playing bass among other things, with Smriti Daniel.