By Newsgram Staff Writer
For author-professor Akhil Sharma, who won the prestigious Folio Prize yesterday for his second book, Family Life, writing it was ‘like chewing stones’ which has left him ‘damaged.’
Sharma, who was awarded the PEN/Hemingway award for his first book, took 13 years to finish Family Life. The Folio Society, which sponsors the prize called the book,’ a heart-wrenching and darkly comic story of a boy torn between duty and survival.’
Akhil Sharma, who lived in India for the first eight years of his life, started his career at the Wall Street investment bank Salomon Smith Barney. He quit three and a half years later because he ‘ just couldn’t stand it.’
‘Family Life is a masterful novel of distilled complexity: about catastrophe and survival; attachment and independence; the tension between selfishness and responsibility. We loved its deceptive simplicity and rare warmth. More than a decade in the writing, this is a work of art that expands with each re-reading and a novel that will endure.’ Chair of the Judges, William Fiennes said.
Akhil had been working full time on the book for the past eight years. But he had to take up a job at Rutgers University-Newark, as a creative writing teacher, after the firm where her wife worked, Lehman Brothers, collapsed. He is still an assistant professor at the university.
The 43-year old novelist beat Irish novelist Colm Toibin and Scottish writer Ali Smith Coilm, among others to win the £40,000 prize.