34-year-old wins prestigious literary award

Aravind Adiga has won the prestigious Man Booker prize for his first novel.

Adiga's novel, “The White Tiger,” features a protagonist who will use any means necessary to fulfill his dream of escaping impoverished village life for success in the big city.

The judges also praised the book's humor. The 34-year-old Adiga is the youngest of the finalists for the prize.

Irish writer Sebastian Barry had been the bookies' favorite Tuesday in a wide-open field of finalists.

Barry's “The Secret Scripture” a story of misery, memories and secrets in 1930s Ireland, was 5-2 front-runner among six contenders for the award, according to bookmakers William Hill. Indian writer Amitav Ghosh was the second-favorite for “Sea of Poppies.”

The 50,000 pound ($88,000) prize is among the world's highest-profile literary awards, open to novels in English by writers from Britain, Ireland or the Commonwealth of former British colonies. Winning brings a big boost in profile, and usually in sales.

Last year's winner was Ireland's Anne Enright for “The Gathering.” The 2006 winner was India's Kiran Desai for “The Inheritance of Loss.”

Among the other shortlisted authors were Australia's Steve Toltz, for a sprawling father-son saga, “A Fraction of the Whole,” and two English authors – Linda Grant for “The Clothes on Their Backs” and Philip Hensher for “The Northern Clemency.”