• Wednesday, May 29, 2024


British Indian musician Nitin Sawhney joins 2024 Booker Prize judging panel

Besides Salman Rushdie’s novel, Sawhney has also composed for the screen adaptation of Booker-shortlisted novelist Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Namesake’ and most recently for Shekhar Kapur directed film ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’

Nitin Sawhney attends The Booker Prize Winner Announcement at Old Billingsgate on November 26, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Award-winning British Indian musician Nitin Sawhney, recognised for his notable musical compositions, including the score for the screen adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s ‘Midnight’s Children’ has been named as a member of the 2024 Booker Prize judging panel. The announcement was made on Thursday (14).

Sawhney, in his late 50s, will join a five-member panel chaired by artist and author Edmund de Waal and including novelist Sara Collins, fiction editor of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper Justine Jordan and Chinese American writer and professor Yiyun Li.

Sawhney took to social media to say he was “honoured” to be on the panel, which will begin its search for next year’s winner of one of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes worth £50,000.

Born in Kent, south-eastern England, Sawhney is recognised as a world-class producer, songwriter, touring artist, club DJ, multi-instrumentalist and composer for theatre, dance, videogames, and orchestras.

Besides Rushdie’s novel, he has also composed for the screen adaptation of Booker-shortlisted novelist Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Namesake’ and most recently for Shekhar Kapur directed film ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’.

He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by the late Queen Elizabeth II in the 2019 New Year Honours list for services to music.

“The recipient of the Ivor Novello 2017 Lifetime Achievement award, he has collaborated with other world-class artists of all kinds…He holds eight honorary doctorates from UK universities and sits on the boards of multiple charities, including Complicité,” notes the Booker Prize brief on the musician, whose latest album ‘Identity’ was released in October.

He will now join his fellow panelists to sift through the best works of long-form fiction by writers of any nationality, written in English and published in the UK and/or Ireland between October 1 this year and September 30, 2024.

“The great ambition of the Booker Prize is to explore contemporary fiction without preconceptions, and I am so privileged to be sharing my year of reading with such a gloriously distinguished and vigorous group of fellow explorers. I am looking forward to being part of the best book club ever,” said jury chair De Waal.

“Fiction expands us. Novels bring proximity to worlds and lives and voices that we may not have been aware of, taking us from what we know into what we can only imagine. They renew language, change the shape of storytelling and above everything else bring deep and enduring pleasure,” he said.

Publishers in the UK and Ireland can start submitting entries and the so-called “Booker Dozen” of 12 or 13 longlisted books will be announced in July 2024, with the shortlist of six books to follow in September 2024.

The winner of the Booker Prize 2024 will be announced in November next year, with each of the six shortlisted authors also receiving £2,500.

“This year’s judges are perceptive readers, creative thinkers, seasoned collaborators. All of them are writers, but between them they also have backgrounds in science, law, music, and art. Their lived experience spans the globe,” said Gaby Wood, Chief Executive of the Booker Prize Foundation.

“If the purpose of literature is, in part, to bridge a gap – to allow us to see the world from another point of view and to draw people together – then the 2024 panel couldn’t be better equipped to recommend works to readers that will get them thinking and talking. I’m hugely looking forward to hearing this group’s discussions as they discover great writing over the coming year,” she said.

In 2023, British Indian author Chetna Maroo was shortlisted for her debut novel ‘Western Lane’ but lost out on the coveted prize to Irish author Paul Lynch’s ‘Prophet Song’.


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