But not in the way you might think (emphasis added):
TORONTO (Reuters) – Indian novelist Kiran Desai said she may never have won the Booker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards, had George W. Bush not been U.S. president — as he put her off becoming an American citizen.
The Man Booker Prize is open only to British and Commonwealth citizens and Indian-born Desai has yet to apply for a U.S. passport, although she has lived in New York for 20 years.
“George Bush won once and he won the second time and I couldn’t bring myself to (apply),” Desai said late last month in an interview in Toronto as she voiced her disapproval of the president’s foreign policy.
“So I really owe George Bush my Booker, in an odd way. It’s really very funny.”
Desai, 35, became the youngest woman to capture the 50,000 pound ($95,000) prize last month with her sweeping novel “The Inheritance of Loss.” The book’s narrative ranges from undocumented workers in New York to political violence in the foothills of the Himalayas during the 1980s.
The novelist divides her time between New York and New Delhi, and while she finds traveling difficult on an Indian passport, she said it helped her maintain an essential contact with her roots while penning her prize-winning book.
“I couldn’t have written this book without being interested (in India), I felt very Indian while writing it,” she said.
“With politics in the United States, my immediate thought is how is this going to affect India or the Third World, who are they letting into the country, who they happen to be bombing.”
Well thank goodness she found something good about this country – like the fact that she enjoys the right to write freely here without fear of persecution.
I’m also surprised she didn’t thank several prior presidents for her award. Afterall, she’s been here for 20 years, which, by my calculations means she failed to apply for a passport under Reagan’s, Bush I’s, and Clinton’s 2 terms respectively … but it’s Bush she has to thank for her not yet becoming a US citizen. Interesting.