14 Facts About Anita Desai


Anita Desai received a Sahitya Akademi Award in 1978 for her novel Fire on the Mountain, from the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters.


Anita Desai won the British Guardian Prize for The Village by the Sea.


Anita Desai is on the advisory board of the Lalit Kala Akademi and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, London.


Anita Desai's Bengali father first met her German mother while he was an engineering student in pre-war Berlin; and they got married during a period when it was still unusual for an Indian man to marry a European woman.


Shortly after their marriage, they moved to New Delhi, where Desai was raised with her two elder sisters and brother.


Anita Desai grew up speaking Hindi with her neighbours, and only German at her home.


Anita Desai spoke Bengali, Urdu and English out of her house.


Anita Desai first learned to read and write in English at school and as a result, English became her "literary language".


Anita Desai began to write in English at the age of seven and published her first story at the age of nine.


Anita Desai's children were taken to Thul for weekends, where Desai set her novel The Village by the Sea.


Anita Desai published her first novel, Cry The Peacock, in 1963.


Anita Desai considers Clear Light of Day her most autobiographical work as it is set during her coming of age and in the same neighborhood in which she grew up.


Anita Desai has taught at Mount Holyoke College, Baruch College, and Smith College.


Anita Desai is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and of Girton College, Cambridge.