Indian writer Ghosh wins Blue Met Grand Prix

Indian writer Amitav Ghosh, author of Sea of Poppies, has won the 2011 Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix.
Amitav Ghosh accepst his Grand Prix from Montreal's Blue Met literary festival on Wednesday. (Arnaud Champalbert)

Indian writer Amitav Ghosh, author of Sea of Poppies, has won the 2011 Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix.

The $10,000 award, given in recognition of lifetime literary achievement, was presented to Ghosh at a ceremony in Montreal on Wednesday.

Born in Calcutta, Ghosh grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. H e now lives and writes in Brooklyn, N.Y.

His 2008 novel Sea of Poppies was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It is the first novel in a trilogy which continues with River of Smoke, to be released in June.

Sea of Poppies is a historical adventure that touches on the impact of colonialism, set against the backdrop of the 19th century Opium Wars, and features a diverse mix of Indian and Western characters.

Ghosh is considered an innovative literary stylist. His previous works include non-fiction books such as The Imam and the Indian and novels such as The Hungry Tide, The Glass Palace and The Calcutta Chromosome.

The Blue Metropolis Literary festival is celebrating Indian writing this year. The Grand Prix, awarded on the opening night of the festival, is decided by a jury selected from the Blue Met Foundation board.

Previous winners include Dany Laferrière, A.S. Byatt, Carlos Fuentes, Norman Mailer and Marie-Claire Blais.