Culture & Society

Perumal Murugan's 'Pyre' Becomes First Tamil Work To Be Longlisted In International Book Fair

Perumal Murugan's novel, 'Pyre', written in Tamil and translated into English by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, is set in 1980 and tells the story of a rural couple belonging to different castes who fall in love and elope, which leads to violence in the community.

Perumal Murugan's 'Pyre', translated in English by Anirudh Vasudevan
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Renowned Tamil writer, Perumal Murugan, who declared himself "dead" eight years ago following protests over his 2013 novel, has returned to make it to the list of the International Booker Prize. 

Murugan's novel, 'Pyre', written in Tamil and translated into English by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, is set in 1980 and tells the story of a rural couple belonging to different castes who fall in love and elope, which leads to violence in the community.

This is the first instance of a Tamil work to be longlisted for the prize. According to a report by The Guardian, for Murugan, the selection is not just a recognition of literary merit, but of a language to which he is deeply attached.

“Perumal Murugan is a great anatomist of power and, in particular, of the deep, deforming rot of caste hatred and violence,” the Booker judges said to The Guardian.

Speaking to the media publication, Murugan, 56, said, “I am delighted. It is historic that a Tamil novel has reached this place. It is an acknowledgement of Tamil literature. I am incredibly happy that the novel is mine."

Murugan, who calls the terming of Tamil as a "regional language" as "language oppression" writes on poverty, caste, and status of women in a deeply Hindu society.

In January 2015, Murugan declared himself "dead" as a writer and announced on his Facebook page: "Perumal Murugan the writer is dead."

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