September 28, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Literary News: Hachette India released Booker Prize-shortlisted author Shehan Karunatilaka’s short story collection

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From the Booker Prize-shortlisted author Shehan Karunatilaka comes THE BIRTH LOTTERY AND OTHER SURPRISES a collection of short stories that are a masterful blend of dark humor, dry wit, and fantasy published by Hachette India

Hachette India is delighted to announce the publication of The Birth Lottery and Other Surprises by critically acclaimed Sri Lankan writer, Shehan Karunatilaka.

The Birth Lottery and Other Surprises is a collection of fantastic short stories that serves up fantasies for both doomsday and every day, marking the return of one of South Asia’s most compelling storytellers. A vivid and engaging commentary on privilege, class, and societal ills, this anthology is replete with unexpected twists and released on 29 September 2022.

Unpleasant truths await a Sri Lankan president in the back of a London cab. An advertising agency has to come to terms with a blown-up collection of pictures of its employees’ penises. A man presumed missing, quietly journals by the sea. A being dispassionately recalls the numerous births it had taken and absurd fates it had to endure. An Englishman, a Dutchman, and a Portuguese man walk into a Ceylon bar with grand narcotic designs. A skillful blend of dry wit, morbid charm and earnest observations, The Birth Lottery and Other Surprises offers a pointed conversation about religious fanaticism, social prejudices, and the devolving state of democratic order in the Indian subcontinent.

Looking forward to the release, Shehan Karunatilaka said, “I take a long time to finish things. The Birth Lottery took two decades. The oldest story was written during the millennium bug and the newest during a global pandemic. These are stories that I wrote while procrastinating on things I never finished, or to win prizes that I never entered, or to try out ideas that wouldn’t leave me alone. The result is a strange mix of genres, characters and styles. I tried my hand at writing thrillers, love stories, sci-fi epics, and tales small enough to fit on teabags and wide enough to span 2000 years. Delighted to finally have these out in the world. I hope each story finds itself a nice reader.”

Shehan Karunatilaka is a Sri Lankan writer whose first book, Chinaman, won the Commonwealth Book Prize, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and the Gratiaen Prize, and was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most original novels to come out of Sri Lanka. His second novel, Chats with the Dead, was published in the subcontinent in 2020 to great critical acclaim; and its UK version The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2022.

Publisher: Hachette India

ISBN: 9789393701213 | Format: Hardback | Pages: 272 | Price: INR 599

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