Kiran Desai

Kiran Desai was born on 3 September 1971. She is an Indian author who is a citizen of India and a permanent resident of the United States. Her novel The Inheritance of Loss won the 2006 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award. She is the daughter of the noted author Anita Desai.


Kiran Desai was born in New Delhi, India, and lived there until she was 14. She and her mother then lived in England for a year, and finally moved to the United States, where She completed her schooling in Massachusetts and studied creative writing at Bennington College, Hollins University, and Columbia University.

Her mother is Anita Desai, author of many books, three of which have been short listed for the Booker Prize (Clear Light of Day (1980), In Custody (1984) and Fasting, Feasting (1999). Anita Desai currently teaches writing at MIT. Her maternal grandmother was German, but left before the World War II and never returned. Her grandfather was a refugee from Bangledesh. Her paternal grandparents came from Gujarat, and her grandfather was educated in England. Although Kiran has not lived in India since she was 14, she returns to the family home in Delhi every year.

In January 2010, the Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk announced that he was in a relationship with Desai.


Her first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, was published in 1998 and received accolades from such notable figures as Salman Rushdie. It went on to win 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) has been widely praised by critics throughout Asia, Europe and the United States and won the 2006 Man Booker Prize as well as the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award.

In September 2007 she was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme hosted by Michael Berkeley on BBC Radio 3. In May 2007 she was the featured author at the inaugural Asia House Festival of Asian Literature.

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