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Anita Desai

Anita Desai, June 24, 1937) is an Indian novelist, notable for her portrayal of female characters. She was formerly known as Anita Mazumdar. She was born to a German mother and an Indian father in Mussoorie, India, and educated in Delhi at Queen Mary's Higher Secondary School and Miranda House, University of Delhi. She is married and has four children. She has taught at Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and currently teaches at MIT. The 1993 film 'In Custody' (based upon her novel of the same name), directed by Ismail Merchant, won the 1994 President of India Gold Medal for Best Picture. The film stars the noted actors Shashi Kapoor, Shabana Azmi and Om Puri. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Girton College, Cambridge and Clare Hall, Cambridge. Her most recent novel is The Zig Zag Way (2004), set in 20th century Mexico. Anita Desai lives in the United States, where she is the John E. Burchard Professor of Writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. Her daughter, Kiran Desai, is a novelist in her own right.

Date of Birth Jun 24, 1937
Date of Death -
Place of Birth Mussoorie

Prizes and awards

1978 National Academy of Letters Award Fire on the Mountain

1978 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize Fire on the Mountain

1980 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) Clear Light of Day

1983 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize The Village by the Sea

1984 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) In Custody

1993 Neil Gunn Prize

1999 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) Fasting, Feasting

2000 Alberto Moravia Prize for Literature (Italy)

Her writings

Diamond Dust and Other Stories (2000)

Fasting, Feasting (1999)

Journey to Ithaca (1995)

Baumgartner's Bombay (1988)

In Custody (1984), Got shortlisted for the Booker Prize

The Village By The Sea (1982), the Guardian Award for Children's Fiction

Clear Light of Day (1980), Got shortlisted for the Booker Prize

Games at Twilight (1978)

Fire on the Mountain (1977)