Neel Mukherjee Wins 10,000 Pounds in UK Literary Award

Neel Mukherjee Wins 10,000 Pounds in UK Literary Award

Kolkata-born writer Neel Mukherjee's The Lives of Others has won the UK's Encore Award for the best second novel.

The 10,000 pounds prize, first awarded in 1990, fills a niche in the catalogue of literary prizes by celebrating the achievement of outstanding second novels, often neglected in comparison to the attention given to promising first books.

"We were immensely impressed by the ambition and depth of Neel Mukherjee's second novel, in which a suburban house in 1960s Calcutta comes to reflect the political and social convulsions of an entire society," Alex Clark, chair of the Encore Judges, said.

"Ranging from the mass hunger of the Second World War to independence and the emergence of the Maoist Naxalbari movement, Mukherjee chronicles these extraordinary years in Indian history through the piercingly observed story of one family," he said.

Commenting on his win, Mukherjee said, "The Encore Award is the coolest and the most original literary prize in town. It is a burst of light in what is usually considered to be dark, damp, bleak territory - the dreaded second novel. I'm thrilled by my good fortune and, looking at the list of past winners, both humbled and deeply honoured."

Mukherjee's first novel A Life Apart was published in 2010. The Lives of Others was shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize and the Costa Novel Award.

Published by Random House India, The Lives of Others was chosen ahead of the likes of Getting Colder by Amanda Coe; Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies; Rebecca Hunt's Everland; Her by Harriet Lane; and The Way Inn by Will Wiles.

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