Akhil Sharma wins Folio prize for fiction

Indian-American writer’s winning book, Family Life, which took him 13 years to complete, is praised by head judge as ‘a masterful novel of distilled complexity’

akhil_sharmaThe Indian-American writer Akhil Sharma has been named winner of the second Folio prize for fiction for a novel which took him 13 long and painful years to complete, charting one emigrant family’s heartwrenching search for the American dream.

Writing it, he admitted after receiving the £40,000 prize, was a frustrating, difficult challenge, often “like chewing stones” with around nine wasted years when it did not go well. “I’m glad the book exists, I just wish I hadn’t been the guy who wrote it,” he said.

Sharma won the prize for his second novel, Family Life, an autobiographical work which tells the story of a young boy Ajay and his family who emigrate from Delhi to New York in search of a better life. All is turned upside down when Ajay’s older brother has a dreadful swimming pool accident and needs round-the-clock care from then on.

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