Family_lifeFew authors, after receiving a prestigious literary prize, wish they had not written the winning book. But Akhil Sharma, newly crowned winner of the Folio Prize, is no ordinary author – and the traumatic 13-year process of writing his acclaimed novel, he said, has left him “damaged”.

Family Life, the prize-winning work, is an intensely personal novel which fictionalises his family’s move to the US – a move that was shattered by a devastating tragedy. He started writing at the age of 30, and now, at 43, and on the night of the award, said that the effort had “shattered my youth”.

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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.

The inaugural shortlist of the latest literary award on the block, the Folio Prize, has been unveiled – with a strong showing by American authors: BBC

The prize, open to English-language writers from all around the world, pre-empts this year’s Booker Prize, which is also expanding to a global level.

The final eight books – out of 80 read by the Folio judges – span poetry, novels and short stories.