A Place Within, M.G. Vassanji’s story of his exploration of his Indian roots, has won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. Vassanji was born in Kenya, studied theroretical physics in the USA, and moved to Canada in his late twenties. Here’s an excerpt from his award winning book:
I was not born in India, nor were my parents; that might explain much in my expectation of that visit. Yet how many people go to the homeland of their grandparents with such a heartload of expectation and momentousness; such a desire to find themselves in everything they see? Is it only India that clings thus, to those who’ve forsaken it; is this why Indians in a foreign land seem always so desperate to seek each other out? What was India to me?
Vassanji has won The Giller twice already for his fiction (The Giller and The Governor General’s Awards are Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes). A Place Within marks Vassanji’s nonfiction debut. Just give him the Nobel already.
Update: And Kate Pullinger won the GG Fiction award for The Mistress of Nothing. My review of her last book “A Little Stranger” is here.