Amitav Ghosh's novel Sea of Poppies was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize.

Amitav Ghosh grew up in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran, and his work - both fiction and non-fiction - reflects his fascination with realms touched by the Indian Ocean.

Sea of Poppies is the first novel in Ghosh’s ‘Ibis trilogy’ (followed by River of Smoke and Flood of Fire), which looks at the opium trade and indentured Indian labour in the first half of the 19th century, and is an extended indictment of the ills of colonialism. The novel is set in India, Mauritius and at sea, as a selection of characters of different nationalities and castes are caught up in the wider currents of imperial trade.

Ghosh’s work is distinguished by his mastery of complex narratives and an amplitude and pacing that recalls the great Victorian novels.

He was also shortlisted, for his entire body of work, for the Man Booker International Prize 2015.


Amitav Ghosh


Between 2005 - 2015, the Man Booker International Prize recognised one writer for their achievement in fiction.

Worth £60,000, the prize was awarded every two years to a living author who had published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

The winner was chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel and there were no submissions from publishers.

The Man Booker International Prize was different from the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction in that it highlighted one writer’s overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. In focusing on overall literary excellence, the judges considered a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel.

All nominated books

Sea of Poppies