Journalist and author Raghu Karnad received the Windham-Campbell Prize at a ceremony at the Yale University Art Gallery in the United States on Thursday night. Raghu was honoured for his debut novel, Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War.
The award was first announced in March. At the official ceremony, Raghu received the prize money of $165,000 from Peter Salovey, the president of Yale University.
“It's been a week and I've just about managed to accept that this is real, and not the result of a mistaken autocorrect prompt. I wrote my book without any certainty that it would even find a publisher outside of India. To have it recognized like this — and placed in the company of others that were my inspirations — feels less like an achievement than a fantastical dream," said Raghu, who is a consulting editor for The Wire and its former bureau chief.
The book, published in 2015, tells the story of three men from the same family, serving in the Indian army during World War II. The book spans various parts of the world including Singapore, Eritrea, Libya, El Alamein, Basra, Arakan and Imphal.
Raghu was born in Mumbai and raised in Bengaluru, and is the son of noted Indian actor, director and Kannada writer Girish Karnad, who passed away in June. He has previously served as the editor of Time Out magazine in New Delhi and he has written for several noteworthy publications, including The New Yorker and Caravan Magazine.
Earlier, he received the 2016 Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar (English) for Farthest Field.
Michael Kelleher, director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes, said, “It’s thrilling to bring the writers together in person each autumn after announcing their prizes in the spring. Here, they receive their awards and also join a growing community of some of the world’s finest English language writers.”
The prize was established in 2013 through a gift from Donald Windham, in memory of Sandy Campbell, his partner of 40 years. Past recipients of the prize include Ghanian poet Kwame Dawes, Australian playwright Patricia Cornelius, Korean-American playwright Young Jean Lee and American author Rebecca Solnit.