Kiran Desai


Kiran Desai (1971) was born in India and educated in India, England and the United States, where she studied creative writing at Bennington College, Hollins University, and Columbia University.

Her first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, was published in 1998 and received accolades from such notable figures as Salman Rushdie. It is set in the Indian village of Shahkot (state of Punjab) and follows the exploits of a young man, Sampath Chawla, trying to avoid the responsibilities of adult life. Fed up with his life in Shahkot, Sampath goes to a guava orchard and settles himself in a guava tree, where he uses the gossip he learned while working at the post office to convince people he is clairvoyant and soon becomes a popular holy man. The novel won the Betty Trask Award, a prize given by the Society of Authors for the best new novels by citizens of the Commonwealth of Nations under the age of 35.

Her second book, The Inheritance of Loss (2006) was widely praised by critics throughout Asia, Europe and the United States. It won the 2006 Man Booker Prize, as well as the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award. The novel follows the journey of Biju, an illegal immigrant in the US who is trying to make a new life; and Sai, an Anglicised Indian girl living with her grandfather in India. The major theme running throughout is one closely related to colonialism and the effects of post-colonialism: the loss of identity and the way it travels through generations as a sense of loss.

In 2013 she was awarded the Berlin Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin. 

Villa Hellebosch
29.09.14 > 27.10.14

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