Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka has been announced as the winner of the prestigious Booker Prize 2022 for his novel 'The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida'. Judges described the Sri Lankan author’s second novel as a ‘rollercoaster journey through life and death’ and praised its audacity and ambition.
Karunatilaka’s second novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is published more than a decade after his debut, Chinaman, which was published in 2011. The Booker-winning novel tells the story of the photographer of its title, who in 1990 wakes up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. With no idea who killed him, Maali has seven moons to contact the people he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos of civil war atrocities that will rock Sri Lanka.
Camilla, the newly appointed Queen Consort of Britain in one of her first official public engagements, handed the trophy to Karunatilaka at a ceremony hosted by comedian Sophie Duker at the Roundhouse in London. Last year’s winner Damon Galgut presented Karunatilaka with his prize money of £50,000. Receiving his prize, Karunatilaka addressed the people of Sri Lanka in Tamil and Sinhalese. He summarised what he said in English: “I write these books for you… Let’s keep sharing these stories.
Shehan Karunatilaka is the second author from Sri Lanka to win the prestigious award following Michael Ondaatje, who won in 1992 with The English Patient.