Anita Desai

Anita Desai ( 1937 – Present ) is one of the important figures in the list of Indian novelist is Anita Desai. Her works have received much fame and appraisal from her readers.

Life of Anita Desai:

Anita Desai

Anita Mazumdar Desai was born on 24th June, 1937 in Mussorie. Born to a German mother, Toni Nime and a Bengali businessman, D.N Mazumdar, Anita grew up learning languages like German, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi and English. 

She began to write in English for the first time at the age of seven and published her first story at the age of nine. Anita Desai is married to Ashvin Desai, author of the book ‘Between Eternities: Ideas on Life’ and ‘The Cosmos’. 

She is the mother of Kiran Desai, winner of Man Booker Prize for her novel ‘The Inheritance of Loss’ in 2006.

Literary Career of Anita Desai:

Anita began her formal education at Queen Mary’s Higher Secondary School in Delhi. She completed her B.A in English Literature from Miranda House, Delhi University. In 1993 she started teaching creative writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She also taught at Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and Baruch College. Anita was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Girton College, Cambridge University and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She also writes for the New York Review of Books.

Anita Desai has so far written eighteen novels so far some of which have acclaimed several awards. One of her book, In Custody (1884) has been made into a movie. 

It was directed by Ismail Merchant in 1993 and won the President of India Gold Medal for Best Picture in 1994. Some of her popular books are Cry The Peacock (1963), Games at Twilight (1978), Clear Light of Day (1980), In Custody (1984), Fasting, Feasting (1999), Zigzag Way (2004), The Artist of Disappearance (2011).

Achievements of Anita Desai:

Anita Desai has been bestowed with many prestigious awards for her contribution in the literary field. The author has been honored with Sahitya Akademi Award for her book Fire on the Mountain in 1978. In 1980 another novel In Custody was shortlisted for Booker Prize in Fiction. 

She has been nominated for the Booker prize three times. She was also awarded in 2000 the Alberto Moravia Prize for Literature and in 2003 Benson Medal of Royal Society of Literature. She has also been honored with the British Guardian Prize for ‘The village by the Sea’.


1978 – Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize – Fire on the Mountain
1978 – Sahitya Akademi Award (National Academy of Letters Award) – Fire on the Mountain
1980 – Shortlisted, Booker Prize for Fiction – Clear Light of Day
1983 – Guardian Children's Fiction Prize – The Village by the Sea: an Indian family story
1984 – Shortlisted, Booker Prize for Fiction – In Custody1993 – Neil Gunn Prize
1999 – Shortlisted, Booker Prize for Fiction: Fasting, Feasting
2000 – Alberto Moravia Prize for Literature (Italy)
2003 – Benson Medal of Royal Society of Literature
2007 – Sahitya Akademi Fellowship
2014 – Padma Bhushan

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