Anita Desai was born in Mussoorie, India, in 1937 of Indian and German parentage. Her works focus on relationships and family life in India, particularly the problems of women in Indian society. She has written for both adults and children, winning the Winifred Holtby Prize from the Royal Society of Literature for Fire on the Mountain (1977) and the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction for her novel The Village by the Sea (1982). Among her numerous other honors is a Literary Lion Award from the New York Public Library in 1993. Desai came to America in 1987. She has taught at Mount Holyoke College, Baruch College, and Smithe College. Desai is currently Emeritus John E. Burchard Professor of Humanities at MIT.