Dubai-based author Avni Doshi has been selected for the 2020 Booker Prize.

The promising writer has made the longlist for her first ever novel “Burnt Sugar”. The striking story of a fraught mother-daughter relationship was first released in India in 2019 under the title “Girl in White Cotton”,  and now it’s in the running for a prestigious title alongside literally greats such as Hilary Mantel.

Born in New Jersey to Indian parents, Doshi’s unsettling and bitter portrayal of a mother-daughter dynamic is something that caught the attention of Booker prize judges who described it as “utterly compelling … sometimes emotionally wrenching but also cathartic”. It took eight drafts to complete, but it will finally be released to the public under the new title this week.



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Inspired by Doshi’s mother’s family’s connection to the Osho ashram in Pune, founded in 1976 by the controversial guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the novel is also set in Pune and depicts and resentful relationship between Antara and her mother Tara.

As a young girl, Antara felt neglected as her rebellious mother escaped her middle class life to join an ashram. That experience caused a ripple effect in her own personal relationships and motherhood. The duo can barely be in the same room, yet something keeps bringing them back together.

“Burnt Sugar” is out on July 30 and the Booker Prize shortlist will be unveiled on September 15.

See the full list below

  • Diane Cook, “The New Wilderness”
  • Tsitsi Dangarembga, “This Mournable Body”
  • Avni Doshi, “Burnt Sugar”
  • Gabriel Krauze, “Who They Was”
  • Hilary Mantel, “The Mirror and the Light”
  • Colum McCann, “Apeirogon”
  • Maaza Mengiste, “The Shadow King”
  • Kiley Reid, “Such a Fun Age”
  • Brandon Taylor, “Real Life”
  • Anne Tyler, “Redhead by the Side of the Road”

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