British Indian author Preti Taneja bags Gordon Burn Prize for ‘Aftermath’ on 2019 London Bridge terror attack .

LONDON: British Indian author Preti Taneja has said that ‘Aftermath’ is the hardest book she hopes she would ever write after the work set in the wake of the 2019 London Bridge terror attack in the UK won her the Gordon Burn Prize 2022.

The Prize, which celebrates the year’s most dazzlingly bold and forward-thinking fiction and non-fiction written in English, is now in its tenth year.

Taneja’s book was selected by a panel of judges made up of sportswriter and columnist Jonath ..
“‘Aftermath’ is the hardest book I hope I’ll ever write,” said Taneja.

“For some, it’s a controversial book. For others, it’s simply about the obvious harms of the endemic racism of a UK education system that does not teach colonial history properly; the biases in the school-to-prison pipeline and in the criminal justice system; and the corresponding narratives of policing, safety, and educational saviourism we cling to, but which fail to keep anyone safe,” she said.

Taneja is a professor of World Literature and Creative Writing at Newcastle University and her first novel, ‘We That Are Young’, a translation of ‘King Lear’ set in contemporary India, won the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018.

With ‘Aftermath’ she strives to make sense of the London Bridge terror attack in 2019, when five people were stabbed – two of whom died of their injuries.

Taneja had taught Khan in prison and Jack Merritt was her colleague and ‘Aftermath’ is described as a profound attempt to regain trust after violence and rebuild faith in human compassion: a powerful re commitment to activism and radical hope.

“As a writer of fiction and nonfiction, Gordon Burn never shied away from the most difficult subjects. He was dedicated to finding the best form for his work, experimenting not only to achieve affect, but to explore the ethics of writing about  those subjects through the writing itself,” noted Taneja.

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