Shehan Karunatilaka is considered one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors. In addition to his novels he has written rock songs, screenplays and travel stories.

Shehan Karunatilaka emerged on to the global literary stage in 2011, when he won the Commonwealth Book Prize, the DSL and Gratiaen Prize for his debut novel, Chinaman. The book was declared the second-best cricket book of all time by Wisden.

Born in Galle, Sri Lanka, in 1975, Karunatilaka grew up in Colombo, studied in New Zealand and has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam and Singapore. He currently lives in Sri Lanka. His songs, scripts and stories have been published in Rolling Stone, GQ and National Geographic. He has worked as an advertising copywriter and played guitar in a band called Independent Square.

His second novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, was announced as the winner of the Booker Prize 2022 on October 17 at a ceremony in London.

 

 

Life after death in Sri Lanka: an afterlife noir, with nods to Dante and Buddha and yet unpretentious. Fizzes with energy, imagery and ideas against a broad, surreal vision of the Sri Lankan civil wars. Slyly, angrily comic.

— The 2022 judges on The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida

Writing inspiration

In this video, Shehan Karunatilaka answers readers’ questions and talks about the ‘big ideas’ books that inspired him, including:

Plus he talks of his love of ‘Uncle’ Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King.