Anita Desai

b. 1937

Anita Desai was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1978.

Novelist, short-story writer and children’s author Anita Desai was born in 1937 in Mussoorie, India. She was educated at Delhi University.

Her novels include Fire on the Mountain (1977), which won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, and Clear Light of Day (1980), In Custody (1984) and Fasting, Feasting (1999), each of which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In Custody was made into a film by Merchant Ivory productions. Her children’s book The Village by the Sea (1982), won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. The Artist of Disappearance (2011) is a trio of linked novellas about the art world, each featuring a different kind of disappearance.

She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Girton College, Cambridge and Clare Hall, Cambridge.

She lives in the United States, where she is the John E. Burchard Professor of Writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

Image credit: Jerry Bauer

Articles by Anita Desai

A passage to Mexico

Anita Desai talks to fellow novelist Maggie Gee about the creative process, the many changes her writing has undergone, and her encounters with different cultures.

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