Page last updated at 09:59 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 10:59 UK

Booker winner Adiga on his prize

Aravind Adiga has won the Man Booker Prize with his debut novel, The White Tiger.

He is the fourth first-time novelist to win the 50,000 prize. He spoke to BBC Radio 4's Today programme about his win.

Making it to the shortlist on a first novel is sort of like winning, and anything beyond that is quite a bonus - so obviously I was surprised. But just being there was quite a thrill.

Aravind Adiga
Adiga said his book dealt with "contemporary Indian reality"

I wrote the kind of book I'd like to read. I like books that have ideas in them and that move and entertain but also provoke, and I hope this does that for my readers.

For me, this has been always the story of a man's quest for freedom. That's fundamentally how I've seen it.

A man who arrives from a village into New Delhi, into the heart of modern Delhi, and suddenly realises that he's walked into a kind of trap and has to find his way out.

It's a story that's set in today's India that revolves around the great divide between those Indians who have made it and those who have not.

At the heart of the book it is something existential. It's a quest to break out of the circumstances you find yourself in - it's a quest for freedom.

India just teems with untold stories and no-one who's alive to the poetry, to the anger and the intelligence of Indian society, will ever run out of stories to write
Aravind Adiga

It deals with contemporary Indian reality.

I am a journalist in India. I was a journalist for Time magazine from 2003 to the end of 2005 and I travelled a lot in India. This novel grew out of my travels in India.

What I've put down is what I've seen and, if that's unfamiliar to readers, it's perhaps a reflection of the fact that a lot of literature - and cinema too - out of India focuses on a relatively small band of society.

It focuses on the middle-class, or on the better segments of society, but the story of a large number of Indians has not been told - this is of the vast underclass which my book deals with.

India just teems with untold stories and no-one who's alive to the poetry, to the anger and the intelligence of Indian society, will ever run out of stories to write.

I do want to write about people who haven't been written about and there's a lot of them in India still.

Aravind Adiga
The 33-year-old was also the youngest author on the shortlist

My second novel is almost done.

I don't know how it compares with the first - you never know until it comes out.

This book was written a long time back, The White Tiger, and I've been working ever since then.

You never know with a book like this. I write alone, I just write and I never know if it's any good until it's all done.

So no-one reads it and writing is such a solitary process unlike journalism, where an editor looks at it.

You don't really know if it's all a mess until it's done.

So whenever it's done, I'll know myself if it's any good.

Winning the prize will mean I'll have less time to write for the next few weeks.

It won't change much because I live in Mumbai and I'm going back there the day after tomorrow. Life in Mumbai has a way of reminding you that writers are not particularly important.

It won't mean anything to my neighbours - they won't know about it.

Long before this, just the moment you get on the long list, there's a noticeable boost and then you get on the shortlist.

This is across the world - sales in India go through the roof when you get on the long list.

As for extra income, the first thing's to find a bank safe enough to put it in and everything else follows from that.

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