His novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year but lost out in the end. On Thursday, however, Indra Sinha's Animal's People scored by winning the Commonwealth Writers Best Book Award for Europe and South Asia. It will now compete with other similar winners from five other regions — Africa, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Canada and South East Asia for the big prize of 10,000 pounds, to be announced in May.
"The competition for the best book was stiff, but Animal's People by Indra Sinha won out in the end for its fiercely original, zesty style, coupled with seriousness of theme and intent," said Makarand Paranjape, who head the chair of judges.
"It's a great honour. I'm delighted for Animal and his friends," responded Sinha. Animal's People revolves around the aftermath of the Bhopal gas tragedy in December 1984.
The Best First Book Award went to Tahmina Anam from Bangladesh for A Golden Age, set in the time of the liberation of Bangladesh.
"Both the winning entries are humane, compassionate, and consistently impressive in their use of language and technique, telling of major historical events through the viewpoints of underprivileged but resolute protagonists," said Paranjape.