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Press release


  • 20 September 2007

Literary accolades for Sussex alumni


Two Sussex alumni have made the final shortlist for the Man Booker Prize this year.

Indra Sinha, a former Creative Writing Certificate student, joins celebrated author and Sussex English graduate Ian McEwan in the final shortlist for the prestigious publishing award. The winner will be announced on October 16.

Sinha's novel, Animal's People, is his third published novel to date. Set in the town of Khaufpur, a fictional rendering of the city of Bhopal, it tells the story of Animal, a beggar-boy, whose spine has been so damaged by a disastrous chemical leak from an American-owned factory that he is forced to walk on all fours.

Indra's sister, Umi, who is currently a tutor on the Certificate in Creative Writing sensed that Animal's People was a significant step forward for Indra as a writer: "From the first time I read the opening of this book, in a very early draft, I was seduced by Animal's voice and felt that this would be Indra's breakthrough book."

Indra took up writing full-time after completing the Certificate in Creative Writing ten years ago. Whilst a student at Sussex Indra was already involved in fundraising for the Bhopal Medical Centre, which provides free medical treatment to victims of the Union Carbide factory gas leak that occurred in 1984.

Ian McEwan, a previous winner of the Booker Prize with Amsterdam, is the favourite to win this year with his novella, On Chesil Beach.

Other Creative Writing Certificate students who have gone on to great critical and publishing success this year include Robyn Young and Chris Sansom. Both were picked as two of Waterstones' 25 'Authors for the Future'. And in The Sunday Telegraph's listings of this year's bestsellers in the historical fiction category, Chris's Winter in Madrid was third and Robyn's Brethren was fourth.

Robyn's second novel, Crusade, has now been published. It tells the tale of Will Campbell, a Templar Knight, and follows both the final years of the Knights Templar and the extraordinary rise to power of the Mamluks (Egyptian slave warriors).

Chris Sansom (CJ Sansom) has published four novels and is already well established as the author of a series of crime novels based in Tudor England. Winter in Madrid leaps forwards some 300 years to Spain in the 1940s and traces the struggles of a young Englishman, Harry Brett, whose ironic detachment and simple sense of British superiority is destroyed by political deceits.

Another Sussex alumna is also celebrating creative writing success. Marian Garvey, a former student of the MA in Creative Writing, Arts and Education (2000-2002), has won this year's national short story competition for new women writers, the Asham Award. Her entry, 'All That's Left, will appear in the Asham Award's new anthology, alongside short stories by runners-up and established authors.

Notes for editors

For more information, please contact the press office: Jacqui Bealing and Maggie Clune, tel: 01273 678888, email: press@sussex.ac.uk

Man Booker Prize: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/

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