Only two other debut novelists have achieved this in the past - DBC Pierre in 2003 for his novel Vernon God Little and India's Arundhati Roy in 1997 for The God of Small Things.33-year-old Adiga, who wanted to be a novelist since he was a boy, was born in Chennai and now lives in Mumbai.
The White Tiger is a "compelling, angry and darkly humorous" novel about a man's journey from Indian village life to entrepreneurial success. It was described by reviewers as an "unadorned portrait" of Indian scene "from the bottom of the heap".Adiga is the fourth Indian born-author to win the prize, joining compatriots Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai who won the prize in 1981, 1997 and 2006 respectively.A fifth winner, VS Naipaul is of Indian ancestry.
Adiga's The White Tiger is the ninth winning novel to take its inspiration from India or Indian identity.Wednesday's win is a first for publisher Atlantic; although they had books shortlisted for the prize in 2003 with The Good Doctor by Damon Gaigut and in 2004 with Bitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor.Adiga, the favourite among British Bookies for the award, pipped aside Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies, another Indian in the shortlist to bag the 50,000 pounds prize ($87,000), which goes to the best work of fiction by an author from the Commonwealth.
Earlier, Adigas The White Tiger and Amitav Ghoshs Sea of Poppies pipped Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence to make the six novels in a list full of fresh faces.
The other shortlisted authors were Australia's Steve Toltz, with A Fraction of the Whole, Irishman Sebastian Barry for The Secret Scripture, and British writers Linda Grant and Philip Hensher for The Clothes on Their Backs and The Northern Clemency respectively.
A total of 41 books have won the prize since it was launched in 1969, because the award was shared in 1974 and 1992. Contenders must have been published in the past year and originally written in English.