A novel seven years in the writing made Kiran Desai both the then youngest winner of the prize and a daughter who went one better than her mother, Anita Desai, a three-time shortlistee.
Anita Desai left India at 14 for first England and then the United States where she studied creative writing. Fiction, however, was in her blood, with a celebrated novelist mother. As for The Inheritance of Loss, her second novel, ‘I wrote this book so much in my mother’s company,’ said the daughter, ‘it feels almost like her book.’
Desai’s career, however, is closer to that of another Indian winner, Arundhati Roy, in that she too has only written two novels.