Kiran Desai Age, Boyfriend, Husband, Children, Family, Biography & More

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Age: 52 Years
Profession: Novalist
Mother: Anita Desai

Kiran Desai

Famous ForReceiving recognition worldwide with her two novels named 'Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, and 'The Inheritance of Loss' that led to win her "The Booker Award."
Physical Stats & More
Eye ColourBlack
Hair ColourBlack
Notable Works• Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard (a novel by Kiran Desai published in 1998)
• The Inheritance of Loss (the second novel by Kiran Desai published in 2006)
• Generation 1. 5 (written along with the writers, Suketu Mehta and Tom Finkelpearl)
Awards, Honours, Achievements 2006: Man Booker Prize for her novel 'The Inheritance of Loss'
1998: Betty Trask Award for her book 'Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard'
Personal Life
Date of Birth3 September 1971 (Friday)
Age (as of 2023) 52 Years
BirthplaceChandigarh [1]India Study Channel
Zodiac signVirgo
SchoolCathedral and John Connon School (a co-educational private school founded in 1860 and located in Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
College/UniversityBennington College (a private liberal arts college in Bennington, Vermont, US), Hollins University (a private university in Hollins, Virginia, US), and Columbia University (USA)
Educational Qualification• She attained her school education at Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
• She studied creative writing at Bennington College, Hollins University, and Columbia University, USA.[2]Front List
Food HabitNon-Vegetarian [3]The New York Times
Relationships & More
Marital StatusUnmarried [4]Tehelka
Affair(s)/Boyfriend(s)Orhan Pamuk ( a Turkish novelist, screenwriter, academic and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Kiran Desai with her boyfriend, Orhan Pamuk
ParentsFather- Ashvin Desai (an Indian author)
Mother- Anita Desai (an Indian novelist and the Emerita John E. Burchard Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Kiran Desai with her mother, Anita Desai
Grandfather- D. N. Mazumdar ( a Bengali businessman)
Grandmother- Toni Nime (a German expatriate)
SiblingsKiran Desai has three siblings, two brothers and a sister, and she is the youngest of four children.
Favourite Things
Musical ChoicesBach played by Glenn Gould and Pablo Casals to two masters of the guitar, three contrasting pieces of Indian music, and the Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora.

Kiran Desai


Some Lesser Known Facts About Kiran Desai

  • Kiran Desai is an Indian author and novelist who won the 2006 Booker Prize for her novel ‘The Inheritance of Loss.’ Around the same year, for the same novel, she received the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award.

  • Kiran Desai is regarded as the youngest female writer to win the ‘Booker Prize award.’ [5]The New York Times

  • Kiran Desai earned a masters degree in M.F.A at Columbia University, USA, just after her novel “Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard” was published in 1998.
  • Kiran Desai’s first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, was published in 1998. She received high opinions and accolades for this novel from several prominent Indian authors. Notable Indian figures such as Salman Rushdie admired her for the success of her first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard.

    Kiran Desai with Salman Rushdie

    Kiran Desai with Salman Rushdie

  • In 1998, her novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, won the Betty Trask Award. [6]Christchurch City Council The Betty Trask Award is a prize given to those who are under the age of 35. It is awarded by the Society of Authors, a United Kingdom trade union for professional writers, illustrators and literary translators, founded in 1884, for best new novels.                                                    Kiran Desai's novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
  • In 2006, ‘The Inheritance of Loss,’ was the second book written by Kiran Desai. Throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States this book was widely appreciated and praised by critics. [7]Washington Post Kiran Desai's novel, The Inheretance of Loss
  • In 2006, in an interview, Kiran was asked that how much influence did her father and siblings had on her as she did not live with her father. Kiran said that she met her father every year, and she further added that her father already predicted that her book “The Inheritance of Loss” would win the Booker Award. She narrated the incident,

    I am asked why I never mention my father. It’s because everyone asks about my mother. I have two brothers and a sister and we talk a lot. I see my father every year and I stay in his house while in Delhi. He is my closest link to India and what it means to me. In January, when the first publication of The Inheritance of Loss was out, he was the first person who said, “I predict this book will win the Booker Prize. I have read the works of most of the Booker Prize winners through the years and this has everything for a Booker Prize.” I met him in New York before leaving for the awards, and he said the same thing again.”

  • In August 2008, Kiran Desai was invited as a guest by a biographical music discussion programme, Private Passions, on BBC Radio 3. This musical discussion programme was hosted by Michael Berkeley. [8]BBC Radio 3
  • Kiran Desai published ‘The Inheritance of Loss’ after more than seven years of work in 2006. [9]Hindustan Times
  • In May 2007, Kiran Desai was invited to the inaugural of Asia House Festival of Cold Literature as a featured author. [10]The Times of India
  • In an interview in 2011, Kiran Desai was asked if she had any private rituals or special environments that she needed to create to write the best. Kiran replied that she liked to write near the kitchen as she constantly made cups of tea for herself and ate a cookie while writing a bit more. She further added that she write best in the morning. She narrated,

    I really like working in the kitchen; I find that wherever I am I work near the kitchen or in the kitchen itself. I can constantly make myself little things to eat or cups of tea; I find it’s a perfect balance, in that I can write a bit, eat a cookie, and then I write a bit more, eat some ice cream. Reward me– it’s constant rewards. And I work best in the morning, as soon as I get out of bed I start writing, and late at night. I have dead space in the afternoon, which I think comes from growing up with an afternoon siesta; my brain just shuts off from about two to five.”

  • In 2013, Kiran Desai was awarded the ‘Berlin Prize Fellowship’ at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany.
  • Salman Rushdie is a family friend of the Desai family. Salman Rushdie, in an interview, described the divergent styles of mother, Anita Desai, and daughter, Kiran Desai, this way:

    Anita is a deceptively quiet writer. Kiran is a little bit showier as a writer. There is a little more flamboyance in the prose.”

  • In her teens, Kiran Desai attended a convent school in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India, where her family had a summer home. Her parents separated, and when Kiran Desai was 16, her mother moved to America with her. [11]The New York Times

    Young Kiran Desai

    Young Kiran Desai

  • After reaching America, Kiran Desai attended high school in Amherst, Massachusetts. Earlier she intended to be a scientist and went to Bennington College, USA, but later, she took a writing class as her course of study.
  • For higher education, Kiran Desai enrolled at Hollins College in Virginia, USA, for a graduate writing program and began writing her first novel, “Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard.”
  • According to Kiran Desai her second novel “Inheritance in Loss,” was much harder to write than her first novel “Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard.” In an interview, she said that it took seven years to complete the “Inheritance in Loss” novel, and during that time period she isolated herself from the world. She further added that the British said no to publish this book in England and ten publishing houses rejected it. She narrated,

    Taking seven years of my being determinedly isolated. It almost didn’t get published in England. The British said it didn’t work. Nearly 10 houses rejected it until Hamish Hamilton bought it.”

  • In an interview, Kiran Desai was asked that what practical difference did winning the Booker prize made to her, then Kiran replied,

    Well, really just that I know I can write! Also, the book is selling much more than before. Also, more pirated copies than before!”

  • In 2006, on the release of her novel ‘The Inheritance of Loss,’ Kiran Desai confronted the rumours about her book-burning, and the protests from Kalimpong, West Bengal, on her depiction of the town and its people, especially the Nepalese majority in her book ‘The Inheritance of Loss.” In an interview, she opened about the controversy that she got loads of criticism on her novel, and it really came down to free speech right in the end for an author. She explained,

    I thought my portrayal was sympathetic. But when you write about a certain group of people, the old argument immediately surfaces: do you have an obligation to portray someone in a heroic way? Of course, you don’t. It really comes down to free speech in the end – if you believe in that, you have to accept things. I mean, I get loads of criticism all the time and I could just as easily be offended by that.”

  • In 2014, acclaimed Indian author Kiran Desai, along with her mother and author Anita Desai, were spotted at The Times of India Literary Carnival at Bandra’s Mehboob Studio, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

    Kiran Desai with her mother, Anita Desai at a Litrary festival in Mumbai

    Kiran Desai with her mother, Anita Desai at a Literary festival in Mumbai

  • In 2014, Kiran Desai gave an interview on the sort of novels she had written, and the strategy she adopted while started writing the novel books. She further added her advice to the young and new writers in the video.

  • In an interview, through a video, Kiran Desai elucidated her journey to write award-winning novels.

  • The Economic Times titled Kiran Desai as one of 20 “most influential” global Indian women in January 2015.
  • On 8 May 2016, the National Library of Israel, National library in Jerusalem, Israel, hosted world-renowned mother-daughter novelists Anita and Kiran Desai. Kiran Desai, along with her mother, Anita Desai, actively participated in the event.

    Novelists Anita Desai and Kiran Desai

    Novelists Anita Desai and Kiran Desai

  • In 2017, Kiran Desai shared her experiences through a video on her real-life experiences while writing her novel “The inheritance of Loss” that ultimately lead her to win the “Man Booker Award.”

  • In 2018, Kiran Desai, along with the Scottish author Irvine Welsh, were among more than 390 writers and speakers, a record number, who participated at the Singapore Writers Festival. [12]The Strait Times
  • Reportedly, Kiran Desai is a quiet writer, and she often writes quotes related to her life experiences.  A quote by Kiran Desai
  • In an interview, Kiran was asked that how disciplined writing life looked like for her, and if she had a mechanical or a disciplined routine while writing the books. Kiran answered that she worked on her books for decades and writing was her major activity. She further added that she had to fight hard to acquire the habit of writing. She said,

    By now I’ve been working this way for decades. Writing has been my major activity, and while we were talking earlier about political movements and my feeling the need to become more involved, most of my life is about writing life. I had to fight hard to acquire the habit, and then eventually I could wake up in the morning and go straight to my desk without thinking about it. My life took on the rhythm of quiet.”

    She further added that writing was her life, and she took small breaks in the afternoons as she wrote books from the morning till evening. She explained that she sacrificed her social life a huge while writing the books as she avoided family life too. She stated that she transferred her life into her writings. She said,

    I work in the morning, I take a short break in the afternoon, and I usually work in the evening as well. I may take a night or two off, here and there, but mostly I work both times. So I have been over-successful, I would say, in transferring my life into my writing. Real-life is less vivid to me than the world of my work. The sacrifice, though, is huge. Most writers have families, and they have kids, and they have a teaching life, and they have a vacation life. I don’t. I have written. Writing is my life. So it’s been great for my work and probably not so good for my life.”

  • In an interview with a media house, Kiran was asked who were some of her favourite writers or some of her favourite works that inspired her to write her own books and novels. Kiran replied,

    I read all different kinds of books, but I like Ichiguru’s work a lot and Kenzaburo Oe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Narayan. One of my favourite books is Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo, which I read over and over again. I also read a lot of poetry.”

    She was further asked if American writers influenced her writings. She replied,

    Yes, definitely. I love Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Connor. I read a lot of American writers. The publishing world is growing smaller, which is very nice.”