Two weeks after his bestselling novel Land Where I Flee made the long list of the Emile Guimet Prize, Nepali-Indian author Prajwal Parajuly is back in the news again. Fuir et Revenir, the French translation of his book by Benoîte Dauvergne is now nominated for France’s First Novel Prize. Also on the list is Man Booker International Prize winner Marieke Lucas Rijneveld.
Parajuly’s novel, which was initially published in English to unanimous acclaim, was declared a ‘Book of the Year’ by The Independent in the UK, The Kansas City Star in US and The Hindustan Times and other publications in India. It was also one of the eight novels on Vogue India’s list of ‘The Great South Asian Novel’. Parajuly was shortlisted for The Dylan Thomas Prize in the UK and The Story Prize in the US. He also featured on the Oprah Book Club in South Africa and later went on to judge the Dylan Thomas Prize.
Land Where I Flee is a family saga, “a delightful comedy of manners” in which four Nepali-Indian siblings living in various parts of the world convene in the Himalayan town of Gangtok, in north-eastern India, to celebrate their formidable grandmother’s 84th birthday. Parajuly is originally from Gangtok, the son of an Indian father and a Nepali mother, but now divides his time between New York and Calcutta.
Awarded annually to one French writer and one foreign writer, the First Novel Prize is to be announced on October 26, at La Coupole on boulevard de Montparnasse, in Paris. A special ceremony will be held on November 15 at the Théâtre de la Pépinière, also in Paris. Previous winners have included American writer Jim Fergus, German author Katharina Winkler, and Shih-Li Kow from Malaysia.
Other writers on the 2020 list are: Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Netherlands), Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (USA), Nazanine Hozar (Iran), Stephen Markley (USA), Olja Savicevic (Croatia), and Eduardo Fernando Varela (Argentina).