Shehan Karunatilaka’s ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’ wins 2022 Booker Prize
The Irish literary prize ceremony has long been known for its unusual events, but the night on November 21 saw an unlikely moment of triumph for a female writer.
The final award of the two-year reading took place in the presence of the Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, who read the letter of acceptance along with Dr Enda Kenny, the speaker of the Dáil, and Dr Michael D Higgins, chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party.
The Irish prime minister and his wife, Megan Hanby, also took part in an Instagram video congratulating the winner and offering a hand for the writer’s book to be returned.
The award had been made to Ms Karunatilaka, at the age of 37, after she published The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (translated into English as All the Moonlit Nights), which won the Costa Book Award last year.
In her acceptance speech, Ms Karunatilaka, who lives in Kildare, Ireland, praised her late father, a Sri Lankan artist, in a way that has now gone viral.
“So much of my artistic writing is about my father, and my father is dead. But he is still my father, and I know that I am supposed to go on, and still I go on and write and hope that one day, he will not be dead, but he is dead to me.
“And that is all right with me. I love my father, but I write for him, I put him in my books, in my poems, and in my stories. And so what is it good for?
“Sometimes, when my father is dead, I write a poem about my father. It’s OK for me to say that he is dead, because he is dead.”
The seven moons of Maali Almeida: Majestic hills and wide valleys Mountain streams and fields of waving wheat Rivers and lakes and wild animals Majestic cities and silent villages Ancient cities and sacred places Majestic churches and monasteries
The Irish cultural minister Pat Rabbitte also made an appearance on stage, where he introduced the winner.
“The winners of the 2022 Booker Prize for Ireland have just been announced tonight at the Dublin Literary Festival Awards ceremony,” he said.