Indian-American writer Lahiri’s novel shortlisted for the prestigious 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize

A book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Indian-American novelist, Jhumpa Lahiri, figures in the top six books shortlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. The six books shortlisted for this prestigious award, which is the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman, were announced on Monday.

Lahiri has been chosen for her second novel “The Lowland”, which is also shortlisted for Man Booker. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her first short story collection, “Interpreter of Maladies”.

“The Lowland” is a story about the close childhood relationship between Subhash and his younger brother, Udayan, born in a section of Kolkata called Tollygunge; until in 1960’s their interests began to diverge. Udayan joins the Naxalite movement and Subhash goes to America for further studies.

Helen Fraser, chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust and formerly managing director of Penguin Books, UK, is among the five judges of this year.

Fraser described Lahiri’s book as “moving and vivid, an unforgettable story of two brothers and the different paths they take. A novel about how political passion can destroy lives”.

The other four judges of this year are: Denise Mina who is the author of eleven novels translated into fifteen languages; Caitlin Moran, Times Columnist, Author and Screenwriter; Mary Beard, Professor of classics at the University of Cambridge; and Sophie Raworth, BBC Broadcaster and Journalist.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, formerly the Orange Prize, was launched in 1996 and is awarded annually and celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.

The winner receives a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’, created by the artist Grizel Niven. Both are anonymously endowed.

Along with Lahiri, the other five shortlists of 2014 are: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for “Americanah”, Hannah Kent for “Burial Rites”, Audrey Magee for “The Undertaking”, Eimear McBride for “A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing” and Donna Tartt for “The Goldfinch”.

The prize will be awarded at a ceremony in London on June 4, 2014.

YS Subramaniam