A Storizen Exclusive Feature
Storizen celebrates Srilankan Author Shehan Karunatilaka for the indigenous achievement of his latest novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida which recently won the Booker Prize 2022. It takes immense pleasure to introduce our readers to one of the realistic author who writes incredible stories based on true incidents.
Shehan Karunatilaka is considered one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors. He was born in Galle, Sri Lanka, in 1975, grew up in Colombo, studied in New Zealand, and has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam, and Singapore. He currently lives in Sri Lanka. His literary life started with songs, scripts, and stories. All of his initial works were published in Rolling Stone, GQ, and National Geographic. Shehan also for some time worked as an advertising copywriter. Apart from being a writer, he also plays guitar and was a part of the Independent Square band.
Shehan Karunatilaka's footsteps were set on to the global literary stage in 201. In that year he won the Commonwealth Book Prize, the DSL, and the Gratiaen Prize for his debut novel, Chinaman, which was also declared the second-best cricket book of all time by Wisden. Chinaman book is considered one of those books written by a Srilankan author that touches on the aspects of brain drain to corruption and to civil war. The story is about WG Karunasena, a cricket journalist and a heavy alcoholic who is given only a year
to live. He then decided to make a documentary on Srilankan cricket. What happens next is the story. This book has been revving up with reviews for many years. It was well received by readers all over the world.
Now, his second novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, was announced as the winner of the Booker Prize 2022 on October 17 at a ceremony in London.
Shehan Karunatilaka’s The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is set in Colombo, in 1990. It is the story of Maali Almeida, a war photographer, a gambler, and a transvestite. He wakes up dead in a visa office set in the space.
He notices that his dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira Lake has no idea who killed him. In a country where people lose their lives to war, bomb blasts and suicide bombers, his list of suspects keeps increasing as he thinks about who killed him. He realized that his time is running out and has only seven moons to contact the man and woman he loves most and leads them to the photos that will rock Sri Lanka. With ghosts and ghouls,
black and white photos, and the grey world of humanity, this book is a highly recommended one.
This was originally published in the Indian subcontinent in 2020 under the title Chats with the Dead. The novel is a dark comedy with ghosts and humans caught in between raging ethnic conflict and insurrection resulting in violence and human slaughter.
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida made the shortlist on September 6 for the Booker Prize 2022, before being declared this year’s winner on October 17. This happened to be the second consecutive year of this. Sri Lankan author's book being short-listed for The Booker Prize for fiction. In 2021 it was
Anuk Arudpragasam's - The Passage North.
Shehan's this recognition comes at a time when Sri Lanka is facing a severe economic and socio-political crisis. Those who have been following the international news on Srilanka and have read or will be reading this book will definitely find themselves in a dual state of witnessing surreal reality.
Shehan has written a short story collection, titled - Birth Lottery, which comes out in the subcontinent in soon, and be published by Hachette India. He is also working on a third novel
In his Booker Prize acceptance speech, Karunatilaka talked about “the dispiriting and demoralizing writer’s life”. When asked doesn't feel like that today, he replied, “No. But even writing a bad draft, takes a lot out of you. I think what separates writers from normal people is that normal people write badly and stop, but writers write badly and keep trying to make it better.” ( As told to inews UK)