Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka, a former advertising copywriter, has won the Commonwealth book prize for his highly praised debut novel Chinaman: the Legend of Pradeep Mathew.
Shehan was awarded 10,000 sterling pounds as prize money.
Narrated by former sports journalist W.G. Karunasena, the novel is the story of his quest for Pradeep Mathew, a devastatingly talented Sri Lankan spin bowler who appears to have been expunged from historical record.
The award, won in the past by Peter Carey, Christos Tsiolkas and Aminatta Forna, has been re-launched this year by the Commonwealth Foundation's Commonwealth writers' programme to target and identify new talent, and goes to a first novel.