11 May, 2021

Rana Dasgupta

On winning the Commonwealth Writers’ best book prize for Solo

Rana Dasgupta

Everyone says they are surprised when they win a litprize—really?

For me, it meant I could let go of some of the nagging doubts I felt as a writer—whether my work was really good.

It’s the first literary prize you’ve won?

Yes. My earlier book, Tokyo Cancelled, reached the shortlist for the Crossword award, but Salman Rushdie beat me out.

Salman Rushdie gave your book a wonderful blurb—how did it happen?

When Salman told me he’d read Tokyo Cancelled and liked it, I asked him if he would read my second book. He was gracious enough to do so.

You’ve been a judge for some literary prizes: what sort of book wins a prize?

There’s no formula for a “prize-winning book”.  The outcome depends heavily on the judges’ individual preferences.

Did you write this book to win a prize?

I write books because I wish to explore...

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