First-time novelist Aravind Adiga tonight was awarded the £50,000 Booker prize for The White Tiger, his book about the dark side of the new India. The Guardian reports that the 33-year-old Adiga was a long shot for the prize and faced stiff competition on the short list from Sebastian Barry and Amitav Ghosh, among others. He becomes the third first-time novelist to take the award, after Arundhati Roy in 1997 and D.B.C. Pierre in 2003. Adigao won after a "passionate debate," Michael Portillo, the chairman of the judges, told The Guardian. "It was pretty close." Portillo praised Adiga's originality and attention to "important social issues—the division between rich and poor, and issues on a global scale. And it is extremely readable." Adiga, born in Chennai in 1974, now lives in Mumbai after stints in Australia and at Columbia and Oxford.