Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927-2013)
Thread poster: Balasubramaniam L.

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:38
English to Hindi
+ ...
Apr 4, 2013

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, noted English author and screenwriter, died today (3 April 2013) at her New York home at the age of 85 of pulmonary disorder.

She was born in Cologne, Germany to Jewish parents. In her early teens, she along with her brother fled to Britain to escape Nazi atrocities on Jews in Germany. This early childhood trauma turned her into a reflective, silent and observant person who took voraciously to reading English literature. Later she married an Indian architect Cyrus Jhabvala and shifted to New Delhi. They had three daughters, Rena, Ava and Feroza.

She soon began writing about Indian society and culture and made a name for herself as a novelist. She wrote over a dozen novels including The Householder (1960) and Heat and Dust (1975). The latter won her the coveted Booker prize.

In 1963 she was approached and persuaded by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory to write screenplays for films based on her novels. Thus began a long and fruitful collaboration between the three which eventually earned Ruth an Oscar for the screenplay of the film A Room with a View. Thanks to the Booker prize money she was able to afford to buy a flat in New York where she shifted to pursue a film career more conveniently. Since then she spent her time shuttling between New Delhi and New York.

Here is a link to an obituary of Ruth appearing in the Indian press and here is one more, and this is the wiki page on Ruth.

Here is the link to her recent short story Innocence which appeared in The New Yorker.

To me what is of great interest in the life of Ruth is that she is yet another case of a person who learns and masters a non-native language after being exposed to it late in her childhood. A female Conrad if you will.

[2013-04-04 13:20 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:08
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Literature Apr 6, 2013

A loss to literature. Here's a link to a New Yorker article where some of her earlier short stories have been unlocked:


Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:38
English to Hindi
+ ...
Interesting link Apr 6, 2013

Thank you, Marcus, for this link.


Catherine Howard
United States
Local time: 03:08
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Thank you for the tribute May 3, 2013

Thank you so much, Balasubramaniam, for this obituary on Jhabvala. What an inspiring life! I am not familiar with her works, but your tribute has sparked my curiosity and I will read something she wrote. It is so important to pay tribute to the lives of great cross-cultural writers and translators/interpreters in a community of like-minded professionals, I hope more people follow your example. Thank you again.


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Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927-2013)

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