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University of Texas at Austin

Anita Desai:

A Preliminary Inventory of Her Collection in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Desai, Anita, 1937-
Title: Anita Desai Collection
Dates: 1958-2013
Extent: 50 boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 2 record storage cartons (29.5 linear feet); uncatalogued accessions: 3 record storage cartons (3 linear feet)
Abstract: Manuscripts for Anita Desai's published works make up a significant portion of this collection, which also includes materials concerning public appearances, awards, and writings about her works.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-01140
Language: English, French, Italian, and Urdu
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. Part or all of this collection is housed off-site and may require up to three business days' notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material:

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchases, 1989-2013 (R11751, R12773, R13947, R16481, 13-10-003-P)
Processed by: Jonathan Reynolds, 2007; Elizabeth E. Preston, 2017

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

Manuscripts for Anita Desai's published works make up a significant portion of this collection, which also includes materials concerning public appearances, awards, and writings about her works. The collection is organized into two series: I. Works, 1958-2013; and II. Career Related Materials, 1962-2013.
The Works Series is divided into four subseries: A. Major Works, B. Short Stories, C. Introductions and Prefaces, and D. Articles and Reviews, with items within the subseries arranged alphabetically by title. Included are manuscripts and typescripts in various stages of editing and revision, such as Desai’s award-winning novels Baumgartner’s Bombay, Fire on the Mountain, Clear Light of Day, In Custody, and Fasting, Feasting. The latter three were short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1980, 1984, and 1999, respectively. In Custody was also made into a film by Merchant Ivory Productions in 1993. The short stories include works published as early as 1958, preceding her first novel by several years. Desai’s work on introductions for books by authors from Anne Brontë to Salman Rushdie and several articles addressing the treatment of women and children around the world are also present. Correspondence directly related to her works has been maintained with the respective work throughout the series and subsequently arranged alphabetically by author.
The Career Related Material is also divided into four subseries: A. Speeches, Interviews, Lectures, and Radio; B. Honors and Public Appearances; C. Articles and Reviews of Desai; and D. Correspondence, Finances, and Other Papers. Included are materials from the PEN International Writer's Day conference and the Flair Symposium, both from 1994. Present as well are her honorary degrees, in addition to publicity materials from her awards, including the Royal Society of Literature Award in 1977 and the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2007, and clippings on her works and career from around the world. Correspondence in this series is more general and does not address any single work, and includes letters between Desai and her first English publisher, Peter Owen. Her royalty statements and tax information are also present along with subsequent correspondence.
The collection does not contain materials related to Desai's personal life or her career as a professor, though it does several theses written by students on the subject of Desai’s work. Access to those papers is restricted.

Related Material

Additional Desai materials at the Ransom Center are present in the Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records and the Peter Owen Ltd. Records.

Separated Material

Books, digital material, moving images, and sound recordings have been transferred to other collections within the Ransom Center.

Folder List