Indian American author Akhil Sharma has won the prestigious 2016 International Dublin Literary Award for his semi-autobiographical novel “Family Life.” The award required a nomination; Mr. Sharma’s work was nominated by the public libraries from around the world, including the India International Centre library in New Delhi and by Jacksonville public library in the US. His novel was shortlisted out of an initial 160 nominations.
Family Life is Sharma’s second novel and took him 13 years to write. This is his autobiographical novel, is praised by judges as ‘the highest form of achievement in literature’. The novel traces the journey of a family that emigrates from New Delhi to New York, where one brother is left severely brain-damaged after a tragedy strikes and in need of 24-hour care. The novel Family Life had also previously won the prestigious 2015 Folio Prize worth 40,000 pounds.
The International Dublin Literary Award is an annual international literary award awarded for a novel written in English or translated into English. The aim of the award is to promote excellence in world literature. It is solely sponsored by the Ireland’s capital city Dublin. The award is richest literary prizes in the world and carries monetary prize of 100,000 euros. If the winning book is a translation then prize is divided between the writer and the translator.
Sharma was born in New Delhi. Later he had immigrated to the US along with his family in 1979. His first novel was An Obedient Father published in 2000. It has won the prestigious PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award in 2001. His stories also have been published in The New Yorker and in Atlantic Monthly. These stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories and also in O. Henry Prize Collections. In 2007, he was named as one of Granta magazine’s Best of Young American Novelists.
The author is now working on a collection of short stories and hopes to complete it by the end of the year.