Rahul Bhattacharya wins Ondaatje Prize
1st June 2012
The Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize has been won by Indian author Rahul Bhattacharya, for his debut novel The Sly Company of People Who Care.
Bhattacharya, who was also shortlisted for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize, received GBP 10,000 for winning the Ondaatje Prize, which is awarded each year to a book that best sums up the spirit of a place.
The Sly Company of People Who Care, about a young Indian journalist who moves to Guyana to escape 'the deadness of life' and ends up falling in love with a local woman, was described as a 'brilliant' evocation of the history, inhabitants and landscape of Guyana by judge Michele Roberts.
'This picaresque story, funny, tough and romantic, swerves around all kinds of inner and outer landscapes and offers unforgettable vignettes of a host of characters,' she said.
'Bhattacharya has invented a beautiful and original language, mixing street poetry and sharply sensual poetry.'
The author follows in the footsteps of Edmund de Waal, who scooped the 2011 Ondaatje Prize for his family biography The Hare with Amber Eyes.