The judges for the winning 2022 Booker Prize praised Shehan Karunatilaka’s novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida for the ‘ambition of its scope, and the hilarious audacity of its narrative techniques’. Set in Sri Lanka during the 25-year civil war, a murdered photographer has seven days to solve the mystery of his own death. It’s a philosophical tale but at the heart of the novel is the horror of a devastating conflict. ‘Sri Lankans specialise in gallows humour. It’s our coping mechanism’, said Karunatilaka. With renewed political and economic crisis in his country, Karunatilaka discusses with Brannavan Gnanalingam how the corruption and race-baiting of the past is still having its ghostly effects on current tumultuous times.

Supported by Asia New Zealand Foundation / Te Whītau Tūhono.


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Last updated: 22 March 2023