A Bengali Doctor-Writer wins the Pulitzer

Kolkata, April 22, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Kreation Guru) Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee is a name that has risen to fame, not over months or years but over days. The Indian-born from New Delhi, recently made international news by winning the prestigious and a coveted Pulitzer Prize for the year 2011. His book, ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer’ focusing on cancer, won the prize in the category for general non-fiction books. In this category, Pulitzer Prize is awarded to any non-fiction book, written by an American author which should be appropriate and distinguished in its documentation and should not qualify for consideration under any category other than ‘general non-fiction’.

Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee is an Indo- American cancer researcher cum physician by profession and an assistant professor in the Dept. of Medicine at the Columbia University, New York, USA.

The author has wonderfully expressed the clinical expertise towards treatment of cancer and his personal enquiry (which is a general enquiry by the medical world) as to why the disease since time immemorial to this day still haunts the medical science with its insidious course despite several breakthroughs in its treatment. It talks about the people who have braved the effects of the disease and its strict and difficult treatment regimens so that readers can understand the real malady through cancer.

The book is well presented with the author’s precision of a biologist, passion of a biographer and the perspective of a historian. The lead ‘character’ in the book is the disease of cancer which has reigned over the human race over the last 5000 years. In the book, Dr. Mukherjee has given astonishing insights into new treatments of the killer disease providing a clear picture and hope for all those who are mystified by it. The contents of the book captivate the reader and show the urgency of the management of this disease. The author takes the reader through the history of the disease through the ages and the medical battles fought against it in the 20th century.

It took Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee seven years to write the book. It was among the ‘Top 10’ of the non-fictional books category for Time magazine in 2010; it also was listed among the ‘Top 5’ of New York Times, 2010 before it won the Pulitzer Prize which awards Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee $10,000.

The hard-working doctor is happy to be back to work with his full clinics of ill patients. He has also had his articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, in the New Republic and in The New York Times. With his non-stop busy schedule, he is still planning to write another book the title of which is yet not decided.

After the winning of the Pulitzer Prize, there are plans to turn it into a documentary. This is not Dr. Mukherjee’s plan but that of eminent documentarians who want to work alongside him and get the book into action. All the same, he feels honored to receive one of the greatest honors of the world.