On 3rd September 1971, Man Booker prize winning author Kiran Desai was born.
Kiran Desai is the daughter of Anita Desai, a prolific writer, a Booker Prize nominee in her own right. Desai spent the early years of her life in Mumbai and Pune and studied at the Cathedral and John Connon School. Desai left India when she was fourteen along with her mother, to live in England for a year, before they moved to the Unites States. In America, Desai did her schooling from Massachusetts, before she went to Bennington College and Hollins University, finally studying Creative Writing at Columbia University. She took two years after this to write her first novel “Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard”.
Kiran Desai made a place for herself in the literary world in 1997 when she was published in the New Yorker and one of her stories titled, Strange Happenings in the Guava Orchard appeared in Mirrorwork, a collection of 50 years of Indian writing edited by Booker Winner Salman Rushdie.
In 1998, Kiran Desai published her first novel Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard to rave reviews and even received praise from literary giants such as Salman Rushdie. The book is essentially the story of a man who begins to live on a guava tree in a guava orchard so that he can avoid the responsibilities of adult life. He also uses this position to convince people that he is indeed a mystic and a holy man. The novel went on to win the Betty Trask award, a prize by the Society of Authors for commendable new writing by citizens of commonwealth nations under 35.
Desai’s first book is a collection of all that she loved about India. Through the writing of this book, she aimed at preserving her memories about the country which she feared she would lose as time passed by. It was also through the writing of this book that Desai realized how much she loved writing and describes the phase of writing Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard as one of the happiest times of her life.
Eight years later, in 2006, Desai publishes her second book titled 'The Inheritance of Loss' which received immense praise by critics across Asia, Europe and the United States. The Inheritance of Loss is the story of an illegal immigrant in the US, named Biju, who is trying to make a life for himself, Sai a young girl influenced by western culture who lives with her grandfather, a retired judge. This book eventually went on to win the Man Booker Prize in 2006 and the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award.
Talking about The Inheritance of Loss, Desai says that even though the characters are fictional, they drew inspiration from the journeys of her grandparents and her own travels between East and West. She adds saying that the life she is currently living is not an accident, but her inheritance.
Kiran Desai currently lives in the Unites States.
Also on This Day:
1905: Kamlapati Tripathi, leader of Indian National Congess, was born.
1953: Laxmanrao Parvatkar (Khaprumama), famous Tabla player, passed away.
1995: Ram Jethmalani (lawyer and MP) launches a new party, Bharatiya Lok Panchayat, to rid the country of its evils.
1999: India launches a new phase of military modernisation after the Kargil conflict.