Students and teachers at James Ruse Agricultural High in north-west Sydney, the alma mater of Indian-Australian author Aravind Adiga, on Wednesday celebrated his Man Booker Prize win.
"We are very proud of Adiga's wonderful achievement. It is amazing for someone so young at 34 to receive one of the highest awards in literature. It reinforces the view of our school as a wonderful place of learning," James Ruse principal Larissa Treskin told IANS.
Adiga, who was born in Chennai on Oct 23, 1974, joined James Ruse school in 1992 half way through Class 10 and topped the New South Wales (NSW) state in the Class 12 ancient history exam.
Teachers fondly remember him as a gifted all-rounder. His English teacher Judith Anderson, who has since retired, was always very proud of Adiga's writing skills.
Anderson, who has read the book, said she wasn't surprised by his success. She remembers him as a student who always stood out from the crowd and showed keen interest in world politics and cultures.
The 850-strength co-educational school is renowned for academic excellence and has been ranked first in the state academic results for the past 12 years.
The students, used to excellence and competing at international Olympiads in various fields, were overjoyed as the news of one of their ex-students making it big on the world stage of literature filtered through the classrooms.
"Adiga has become a great role model for our students. We would love to have him as a speaker at the school's golden jubilee celebrations next year in 2009," Treskin, who has been principal for the past two years, said.
Australian media has been quick to claim Adiga, who lives in Mumbai, as their very own as he has dual Indian and Australian citizenship.
His debut novel, "The White Tiger", was Wednesday out of stock at the Berkelouw Paddington bookstore on Sydney's Oxford Street, but at Borders' flagship store in Bondi Junction the remaining 12 copies were selling fast.
"We have had several enquiries about 'The White Tiger' since Adiga won the 2008 Man Booker Prize. We have sold three copies on Wednesday and a shipment is on the way as we see the demand for the book increasing in the coming days," a Borders' spokesperson said.