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Akhil Sharma's 'Family Life' wins Folio Prize for fiction

Akhil Sharma, author of

Akhil Sharma, author of "Family Life" (Norton, April 2014). Credit: Bill Miller

Indian-American author Akhil Sharma has won the 40,000 pound ($60,000) Folio Prize for literature with "Family Life," the story of an immigrant family floundering in America that took him 13 years to write.

A judging panel led by writer William Fiennes awarded Sharma the prize Monday for a book Fiennes called "deceptively simple ... emotionally rich, incredibly moving" and surprisingly funny.

Sharma beat seven other finalists, including Britain's Ali Smith, Canada's Miriam Toews and American authors Ben Lerner and Jenny Offill.

The Folio Prize aims to rival the Booker Prize as the English-speaking world's most prestigious literary award. It is open to any English-language work of fiction published in Britain, and this year's finalists came from four continents.

Last year's winner was American author George Saunders for "Tenth of December."

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