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Celebrating Aravind Adiga

books Updated: Oct 23, 2009 20:47 IST

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The 2008 Man Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga turns 35 today.

Adiga, who was born in Madras in 1974 and now lives in Mumbai, is the fourth Indian-born author to win the Booker Prize, the others being Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai. Another winner VS Naipaul is of Indian ancestry, but is not India-born.

He was born to Kannadiga parents hailing from Mangalore, Karnataka. He grew up in Mangalore and studied at Canara High School, then at St. Aloysius' College, where he completed his SSLC in 1990. After emigrating to Sydney, Australia, with his family, he studied at James Ruse Agricultural High School. He studied English literature at Columbia University, New York, where he graduated as salutatorian in 1997 and at Magdalen College, Oxford.

Adiga began his journalistic career as a financial journalist, with pieces published in Financial Times, Money and the Wall Street Journal. His review of previous Booker Winner Peter Carey's book, Oscar and Lucinda, appeared in The Second Circle, an online literary review.

He was subsequently hired by TIME, where he remained a correspondent for three years before working as a freelancer. During his freelance period, he wrote The White Tiger. His second book, Between the Assassinations features 12 interlinked short stories.

Adiga’s book The White Tiger is the ninth winning novel to take its inspiration from India. Also, Adiga is the third debut novelist to win after DBC Pierre in 2003, for Vernon God Little, and Roy in 1997 for The God of Small Things.

Adiga's novel was described as a compelling, angry and darkly humorous novel about a man's journey from Indian village life to entrepreneurial success. It was described by one reviewer as an "unadorned portrait" of India seen "from the bottom of the heap".

The White Tiger, has already won rave reviews. In Booker’s 40th year, Adiga — the second youngest winner after Ben Okri, who won in 1991 aged 32 — bested fellow Indian Amitav Ghosh, Australian Steve Toltz, Irishman Sebastian Barry and Britons Linda Grant and Philip Hensher.