Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 17:16 UK

Rana Dasgupta's 'risky' book takes writers' prize

Rana Dasgupta
Rana Dasgupta was previously up for the Commonwealth Prize

British-Indian author Rana Dasgupta has been awarded the £10,000 best book prize for his "bold" novel Solo.

The author, 38, who was born in Kent and now lives in New Delhi, was praised by judges for his work's "edginess".

Australian writer Glenda Guest won the award for first book with her novel Siddon Rock, which was singled out for its "rich cast of odd characters".

The Commonwealth Writers' Prize is an annual event recognising literature from the former British colonies.

Finalists from Commonwealth countries around the world converged on the Indian capital to take part in head-to-head debates on their works, which were scrutinised by the judging panel.

Regional winners from Africa, the South East Asia and Pacific area, Caribbean and Canada, South Asia and Europe were also determined.

Both writers are celebrating their first major literary wins.

Dasgupta's book examines the moments where banal reality and fantasy converge, and was called "breathtaking" by judges, despite taking narrative risks.

Mark Collins, head of the Commonwealth Foundation, praised the main winners for their "extraordinary literary talent".

"The two books chosen by the judges are ones that take us on unexpected journeys and challenge our conventional assumptions," he said.

Chair of judges Nicholas Hasluck added: "The winning books are groundbreaking in taking readers outside their usual comfort zone."

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