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White Tiger wins Man Booker Prize
15.10.08 | Graeme Neill
Aravind Adiga has become the third debut novelist to clinch the Man Booker Prize after winning the award last night for his novel The White Tiger [Atlantic].
The novel was described by judges as a "compelling, angry and darkly humorous' novel about a man's journey from Indian village life to entrepreneurial success. The book was lauded for "its originality" and "enormous literary merit".
Michael Portillo, chair of the 2008 judges, said: "The judges found the decision difficult because the shortlist contained such strong candidates. In the end, The White Tiger prevailed because the judges felt that it shocked and entertained in equal measure.
"The novel undertakes the extraordinarily difficult task of gaining and holding the reader's sympathy for a thoroughgoing villain. The book gains from dealing with pressing social issues and significant global developments with astonishing humour."
Last night Adiga was presented with a cheque for £50,000 by Peter Clarke, chief executive of the Man Group. Each of the six shortlisted authors, including Adiga, won £2,500 and a designer bound edition of their book. The other shortlisted authors were Sebastian Barry for The Secret Scripture (Faber), Amitav Ghosh for Sea of Poppies (John Murray), Linda Grant for The Clothes on Their Backs (Virago), Philip Hensher for The Northern Clemency (Fourth Estate) and Steve Toltz for his debut novel A Fraction of the Whole (Hamish Hamilton).
Other debut novelists to have clinched the prize are DBC Pierre five years ago for Vernon God Little and Arundhati Roy in 1997 for her novel The God of Small Things.
Adiga studied at Columbia and Oxford universities and is a former correspondent for Time magazine in India. He has also been published in the Financial Times, Independent and Sunday Times.
As well as Portillio the judging panel comprised Alex Clark, editor of Granta; Louise Doughty, novelist; James Heneage, founder of Ottakar's bookshops; and Hardeep Singh Kohli, TV and radio broadcaster.