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Akhil Sharma Wins International Dublin Literary Award


Akhil Sharma Wins International Dublin Literary Award

Every year Dublin City Council awards one author with a prize for a single novel published in English. The 2016 International Dublin Literary Award is the world’s largest prize, a whopping  €100,000.

This year’s winner is Akhil Sharma who received his award at a ceremony held at Dublin’s Mansion House today. The winning novel is called Family Life.

Akhil Sharma was born in India, but raised in the United States and works as an assistant professor of English at Rutgers University, Newark.

Professor Sharma is no novice to the world of literacy and  has won other awards, including the PEN/Hemingway Award and the New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

“To be acknowledge by people I respect is a strange thing. I can’t say I fooled them. I feel abashed by this honor,” Akhil Sharma said, referring to the very talented panel of judges.

Sharma competed against 160 other writers and made it to the shortlist of 10 books. Family Life was first published in the USA by W.W. Norton and in the UK by Faber & Faber.

He joins his fellow country men in becoming the third American author to pick up the award. In 2005 and 2009 American authors Edward P. Jones and Michael Thomas took to the stage for the award.

The novel is about an eight year old boy called Ajay Mishra who moves from Delhi with his family to start their new lives in America (much like his own story – Sharma was also born in Delhi and moved to America when he was eight-years-old).

Ajay is the youngest of two brothers. His older brother Birju ends up with brain damage when he has an accident in a swimming pool.

The injury is so bad that Birju has to be cared for at home and can do nothing for himself anymore. Ajay’s family can’t afford to take care of his brother in a hospital and they keep him at home where they take care of his needs.

Ajay has to understand that his brother’s accident is what comes first in the house and leaves him with a feeling of abandonment. It is a story of a foreign family living in the 70’s who suffers a great tragedy in a rich and affluent country. With very little money they learn to manage.

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