24 July, 2021

Anita Desai

The thrice Booker-nominated writer was here to receive her Sahitya Akademi fellowship and watch the film based on her book In Custody

Anita Desai
Are you the first Indian Writer in English (IWE) to earn this distinction?

Mulk Raj Anand and R.K. Narayan were made fellows long before me.

Do you read any vernacular work?

Not since Nirmal Varma in school. The state of translation leaves much to be desired.

Any IWEs you’ve liked recently?

Suketu Mehta was quite brilliant and, of course, there’s my daughter’s extraordinary Inheritance of Loss to rejoice over.

What has your daughter inherited from you?

We’re very close in our thoughts, preoccupations, tastes and experiences. We both draw from that shared well.

In Custody was your first novel to make it to the screen. How was the experience?

It proved that cinema was not the natural field for me: writing the screenplay was like obliterating the text rather than creating it.

You write a lot about the old, isolated and vulnerable.

I expect I have an affinity for the isolated and reclusive since I have those tendencies myself.

What do you think of...

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