Award-winning author Ruth Prawer Jhabvala dies at 85

Apr 03, 2013, 22:35 IST | Agencies

Ruth Prawar Jhabvala, the only person to have won an Oscar and the Booker, has died after a bout of illness.

Writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who won an Oscar as well as Booker prize and lived in India for more than two decades, died on Wednesday in the US.

Jhabvala, 85, breathed her last at her home in Manhattan after a long illness.

She has a long association with Merchant Ivory Productions which yielded her two Academy Awards for her work on the films 'A Room with a View' and 'Howards End'. The trio -- Jhabvala, producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory -- made more than 20 films over a period of 40 years.

India was the inspiration for many of her stories, including 'Heat and Dust', which won her the Booker in 1975.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (right) with Merchant Ivory. File Pic/AFP

Jhabvala wrote 19 novels and short-story collections that reflected the cultures she absorbed on three continents during her half-century career.


She wrote only one original screenplay, “Jefferson in Paris,” the 1995 movie that generated controversy for its portrayal of Thomas Jefferson’s affair with his black slave, Sally Hemings.
She became a British citizen in 1948. 

In 1951, she married Cyrus H Jhabvala, an Indian Parsi architect. 


She had been suffering from a pulmonary disorder and is survived by husband Cyrus and daughters Renana, Ava and Firoza-Bibi.
Born into a Jewish family, her family fled Nazi Germany in 1939 to begin a new life in Britain.
After meeting her future husband in London, Jhabvala moved with him to his native India in the 1950s, where she was visited by Merchant and Ivory to ask if they could make a film of her 1960 novel The Householder.

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