International Writing Program (IWP) spring 2022 resident Shehan Karunatilaka has been longlisted for the Booker Prize, the world’s leading literary award for fiction, for his book The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida.
Karunatilaka is known as one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent authors, having been published in Rolling Stone, GQ, and National Geographic. In 2011, he won the Commonwealth Prize and Gratiaen Prize for his debut novel, Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew.
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida takes place in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1990, and follows Maali Almeida, a war photographer, gambler, and closet queen, who journeys through the afterlife in search of answers that will change Sri Lanka forever. Regarding the novel, the Booker Prize judges say, “Life after death in Sri Lanka: an afterlife noir, with nods to Dante and Buddha and yet unpretentious. Fizzes with energy, imagery, and ideas against a broad, surreal vision of the Sri Lankan civil wars. Slyly, angrily comic.”
The Booker Prize, founded in 1969, is awarded each year to the best sustained work of fiction written in English and published in the UK and Ireland.
The IWP residency program at the University of Iowa is a unique conduit for connecting well-established writers from around the globe. The residency is designed for emerging writers and provides time in a setting that is conducive to produce high-quality literary work.
The IWP will begin announcing the residency’s next cohort of authors on Monday, Aug. 1. Follow the IWP Instagram account to learn about the incoming writers and upcoming events in real time.