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  • Ruth Prawer Jhabvala


Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is a novelist, short story writer and screenwriter.

She was born in 1927 in Germany of Polish-Jewish parents and escaped to England in 1939. She graduated with an MA from Queen Mary College, London University, in 1951 and moved to Delhi, where she lived until 1975.

She is the author of several novels, her first being To Whom She Will, published in 1955. Other novels include the domestic comedy, The Householder (1960); and Heat and Dust (1975), a love story contrasting the 1920s and 1970s and winner or the 1975 Booker Prize for Fiction. Her latest novels are Poet and Dancer (1993) and Shards of Memory (1995).

Her short story collections include Out of India: Selected Stories (1987); East into Upper East: Plain Tales from New York and New Delhi (1998); and My Nine Lives: Chapters of a Possible Past (2004).

She has also written a number of scripts for film and television, many with Merchant Ivory. These include her Academy Award (Oscar)-winning adaptations of E. M. Forster novels, Howards End and A Room With A View; her adaptation of Kasuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day; and the BAFTA-winning adaptation of her own novel, Heat and Dust.


Other screenplays include Surviving Picasso, The Bostonians and The Golden Bowl (adaptations of novels by Henry James), Mr. and Mrs. Bridges, and in 2008, The City of Your Final Destination, an adaptation from the novel by Peter Cameron.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was awarded a CBE in 1998 and lives between Delhi, New York and London.


My Nine Lives: Chapters of a Possible Past
East Into Upper East: Plain Tales from New York and New Delhi
Shards of Memory
Poet and Dancer
Three Continents
Out of India: Selected Stories
In Search of Love and Beauty
How I Became a Holy Mother: And Other Stories
Heat and Dust
A New Dominion
Experience of India
A Stronger Climate: Nine Stories
A Backward Place
Like Birds, Like Fishes: And Other Stories
Get Ready for Battle
The Householder
Esmond in India
The Nature of Passion
To Whom She Will


O Henry Short Story Prize
Writers' Guild of America Screen Laurel Award (US)
Academy Award (Oscar) for Writing
New York Film Critics' Circle Award for Best Screenplay
Writers' Guild of America Award
Academy Award (Oscar) for Writing
Critics' Circle Award for Screenwriter of the Year
MacArthur Foundation Fellowship OBIE
BAFTA (Best Adapted Screenplay)
Neil Gunn Prize
Booker Prize for Fiction