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KAMALA MARKANDAYA (1924-2004)


Kamala Markandaya was a pseudonym used by Kamala Purnaiya Taylor. She was a well known novelist and journalist. She was born Kamala Purnaiya into a Hindu Brahmin family in a small town in the Princely State of Mysore, She studied history at Madras University, graduating in 1940. She served briefly with the army during World War II. Till 1947 she worked as a journalist and also published several short stories in newspapers. After India declared its independence, Markandaya married a fellow journalist, an Englishman named Bertrand Taylor, and moved to Britain, though she still labeled herself an Indian expatriate. They had one daughter.

Kamala’s first published novel, Nectar in a Sieve, was a bestseller and named a notable book of 1955 by the American Library Association. She published ten novels in total: Nectar in a Sieve (1954), Some Inner Fury (1955), A Silence of Desire (1960), Possession (1963), A Handful of Rice (1966), The Coffer Dams (1969), The Nowhere Man (1972), Two Virgins (1973), The Golden Honeycomb (1977), and Pleasure City (1982). Nectar in a Sieve was translated into more than a dozen languages and remains her most well-known work. Some Inner Fury is a semi-autobiographical story of a young woman in love with an Englishman during the war of Independence. The Nowhere Man was one of the first novels to treat the theme of the Indian diaspora. Set in 1968, it documents the discrimination faced by immigrants in Britain with merciless accuracy.
 
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