Kiran Desai Biography

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Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Kiran Desai was, until the late 1990s, known only as the prominent Indian writer Anita Desai's daughter. The success of Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, however, brought her recognition as a writer in her own right. Kiran Desai was born in 1971 in India. She received her education in India, England, and the United States. Desai was a student in Columbia University's creative writing program when her novel got published. In fact, she took a year off from that program to put things in perspective and write the novel.

Kiran Desai claims that she feels completely alive and happy only when she is writing. The whole process of writing brings her pleasure and incredible satisfaction. Writing feels to her like total engagement. As a writer or a reader, she believes that she is influenced by everything. Desai grew up under the influence of Indian writers, but she was wary of getting influenced by any particular style of writing and stayed clear of all books written by Indian authors for a while before and during the time in which she wrote Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard.

Often, she felt she was not making any progress as she attempted to write the novel because she would cut or truncate so much of what she had written. She writes longhand. She tried to write directly on the computer, but it made her self-conscious; she would look on the computer in the midst of the creative process and see it as if it were written on the published page. Rather than seeing it like that, she writes the first draft longhand, and then she transfers the text to the computer and edits it on the computer from then on.

One of the most difficult parts of the writing process for Desai involves deciding when a piece is finished. She tries to balance the desire to polish and re-polish the work with the need to retain its spontaneous quality, a balancing act she is always working to perfect.

Kiran and her mother Anita Desai often rent a villa in a remote part of Mexico and seek inspiration for their work from this isolated spot. Not the one to be in a hurry, Kiran Desai has no immediate plans for bringing out her next novel.