Geetanjali Shree

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Geetanjali Shree
Geetanjali Shree in February 2010
Geetanjali Shree in February 2010
BornGeetanjali Pandey
(1957-06-12) 12 June 1957 (age 65)
Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, India
GenreNovels, short stories
Notable worksTomb of Sand
Notable awardsInternational Booker Prize (2022)

Geetanjali Shree (Hindi: गीतांजलि श्री; born 12 June 1957), also known as Geetanjali Pandey,[a] is an Indian Hindi-language novelist and short-story writer based in New Delhi, India. She is the author of several short stories and five novels. Her 2000 novel Mai was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award in 2001,[2] while its English translation by Nita Kumar was published by Niyogi Books in 2017. In 2022, her novel Ret Samadhi (2018), translated into English as Tomb of Sand by Daisy Rockwell, won the International Booker Prize.[3] Aside from fiction, she has written critical works on Premchand.

Early life and education[edit]

Shree was born in the city of Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh state[4] on 12 June 1957.[5] As her father, Anirudh Pandey, was a civil servant, her family lived in various towns of Uttar Pradesh. Shree says that it was this upbringing in Uttar Pradesh, along with a lack of children's books in English, that gave her a rich connection to Hindi.[1] She is ancestrally from Ghazipur District, Gondaur village.[6]

At university, she studied history. She completed a BA at Lady Shri Ram College,[7] and a master's degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.[8] After beginning her PhD work at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda on the Hindi writer Munshi Premchand, Shree became more interested in Hindi literature.[9] She wrote her first short story during her PhD,[10] and turned to writing after graduation.[9]


Her first story, "Bel Patra" (1987), was published in the literary magazine Hans and was followed by a collection of short stories Anugoonj (1991).[1][11][12]

The English translation of her novel Mai catapulted her to fame. The novel is about three generations of women and the men around them, in a North Indian middle-class family. Mai has been translated into several languages, including Serbian and Korean. It has also been translated into English by Nita Kumar, who was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize, and into Urdu by Bashir Unwan with a preface by Intizar Hussain.[1] Other translations of the novel include French by Annie Montaut,[13] and German by Reinhold Schein [de].[14]

Shree's second novel Hamara Shahar Us Baras is set loosely after the incidents of Babri Masjid demolition.[1]

Her fourth novel, Khālī jagah (2006), has been translated into English (by Nivedita Menon as The Empty Space),[15] French (by Nicola Pozza as Une place vide),[16] and German (by Georg Lechner and Nivedita Menon as Im leeren Raum).[17]

Her fifth novel, Ret Samadhi (2018), has been commended by Alka Saraogi for "its sweeping imagination and sheer power of language, unprecedented and uninhibited".[18] It has been translated into English by Daisy Rockwell as Tomb of Sand, and into French by Annie Montaut as Au-delà de la frontière.[13] On 26 May 2022, Tomb of Sand won the International Booker Prize, becoming the first book in Hindi and the first from an Indian writer to receive the accolade.[19][20]

Academic publications[edit]

  • Between Two Worlds: An Intellectual Biography of Premchand[21]
  • "Premchand and Industrialism: A Study in Attitudinal Ambivalence", The Indian Economic and Social History Review, XIX(2), 1982 [22]
  • "Premchand and the Peasantry: Constrained Radicalism", Economic and Political Weekly, XVIII(26), 25 June 1983.[23]
  • "The North Indian Intelligentsia and the Hindu-Muslim Question"[24]

Other activities[edit]

Shree also participates in theatre and works with Vivadi, a theatre group comprising writers, artists, dancers, and painters.[1]

Awards and honours[edit]

Shree is the recipient of the Indu Sharma Katha Samman award[12] and has been a fellow of the Ministry of Culture, India, and Japan Foundation.[25]

In 2022, Tomb of Sand became the first Hindi-language novel shortlisted for the International Booker Prize[25][26] and subsequently won the prize.[20][27]

In December 2022, Shree was named on the BBC's 100 Women list as one of the world's inspiring and influential women of the year.[28]

See also[edit]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ Her birth name is Geetanjali Pandey, but she took her mother's first name Shree as her last name.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "'I'm Waiting To Write The Book Which Will Slip Out Of My Grasp'". Interview with Geetanjali Shree in Outlook India.
  2. ^ "Bent Over Backwards", excerpts from MaiOutlook India.
  3. ^ "Tomb of Sand | The Booker Prizes". Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Geetanjali Shree is first Indian winner of International Booker Prize". BBC News. 27 May 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  5. ^ Chhaya, Mayank (27 May 2022). "Geetanjali Shree first Indian to win International Booker Prize: Will it open doors for translations of great literature in all Indian languages?". South Asian Monitor. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Booker Prize: गीतांजलि श्री को बुकर पुरस्कार मिलने से गाजीपुर गौरवान्वित, जिले में खुशी का माहौल" [Ghazipur proud of Gitanjali Shree receiving Booker Prize, atmosphere of happiness in district]. Amar Ujala (in Hindi). Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Geetanjali Shree got her PhD degree from MSU". Times of India. 28 May 2022. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  8. ^ "JNU congratulates alumna Geetanjali Shree on International Booker win". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 28 May 2022. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Geetanjali Shree's 'Tomb of Sand' makes it to Booker longlist". Deccan Herald. 26 March 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  10. ^ "Geetanjali Shree". Kalam. 7 September 2020. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  11. ^ Mai: A Novel, Kali for Women, 2000. Via Google Books.
  12. ^ a b "The past is ever present, realized by us in bits: An interview with Geetanjali Shree". Deep Blue Ink.
  13. ^ a b "Geetanjali Shree on the Need for 'a Pluralistic Multilingual World'". Publishing Perspectives. 28 April 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  14. ^ "Geetanjali Shree". Draupadi Verlag Webseite! (in German). Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  15. ^ Gītāñjali Śrī (2016). The empty space. Nivedita Menon. London. ISBN 978-0-85742-394-8. OCLC 944087243.
  16. ^ Gītāñjali Śrī. (2018). Une place vide. Nicola Pozza. Gollion: Infolio. ISBN 978-2-88474-950-3. OCLC 1051241457.
  17. ^ Gītāñjali Śrī (2017). Im leeren Raum. Georg Lechner, Nivedita Menon, Lotos Werkstatt (Deutschsprachige Ausgabe ed.). Berlin. ISBN 978-3-86176-061-0. OCLC 1028552813.
  18. ^ Saraogi, Alka (May 2019). "Painting The Ordinary In Myriad Extraordinary Hues". The Book Review. 43 (5).
  19. ^ Knight, Lucy (7 April 2022). "International Booker prize shortlist delivers 'awe and exhilaration'". The Guardian.
  20. ^ a b Shaffi, Sarah (26 May 2022). "First novel translated from Hindi wins International Booker prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  21. ^ Between Two Worlds Google Books
  22. ^ The Indian Economic and Social History Review, XIX(2), 1982, Sage Publications.
  23. ^ ICSSR journal of abstracts and reviews. Google Books.
  24. ^ "The North Indian Intelligentsia and the Hindu-Muslim Question", Bibliography of Asian Studies.
  25. ^ a b Marshall, Alex (7 April 2022). "Women Dominate Shortlist for International Booker Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Geetanjali Shree's 'Tomb of Sand' first Hindi novel on International Booker shortlist". The Indian Express. 7 April 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  27. ^ Doyle, Martin (26 May 2022). "Geetanjali Shree and Daisy Rockwell win 2022 International Booker Prize". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  28. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2022: Who is on the list this year? - BBC News". BBC. 6 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.