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India - South Asia
Genres Non Fiction, Novels, Critic, Journalist, Essays
Nayantara Sahgal [b. 1927], belongs to one of Indiaís most distinguished political families, the Nehrus, and is also one of the most eminent Indian writers in English today. She has perhaps been the only woman writer in English to have consistently reflected the political life of India in her novels. From her first book, A Time to be Happy, published in 1958 to her latest, Lesser Breeds , she has followed the evolution of democracy and politics in the country; from its promise of equality and freedom from want to its present crisis of credibility. In all, she has written nine novels, among them the well-known Storm in Chandigarh , The Day in Shadow , Rich Like Us , and A Situation in New Delhi  about the Emergency. But it was her memoir of the Freedom Movement, Prison and Chocolate Cake written in 1954 that brought her early fame; she has continued to write on history and politics both in her newspaper columns and in books. Among the latter are Indira Gandhi: Her Road to Power , and A Voice for Freedom . She has also edited Before Freedom: Nehruís letters to His Sister, 1909-1947 . Her outspoken criticism of Indira Gandhi during the Emergency earned her the extreme displeasure of Indiaís most powerful woman at the time, and practically consigned her to political oblivion. She remained undeterred in her writing however, refusing to be censored or silenced by those in power. No price was too heavy for freedom.
Nayantara Sahgalís prolific literacy output is in sharp contrast to her almost reclusive life as a writer today. She lives in Dehradun, far from the literary hubs of Delhi and Mumbai and other metropolitan cities, observing events from a distance.
In addition to her membership of several literary organizations, Nayantara Sahgal was Vice President, Peopleís Union for Civil Liberties [India] from 1980-85.
Sinclair Prize for Fiction, 1985
Sahitya Akademi Award, 1986 for Rich Like Us
Prison and Chocolate Cake, 1954
A Time to be Happy, 1958
Storm in Chandigarh, 1969
The Day in Shadow , 1972
A Situation in New Delhi, 1977
A Voice for Freedom, 1977
Indira Gandhi: Her Road to Power, 1982
Rich Like Us, 1985
Before Freedom: Nehruís letters to His Sister, 1909-1947, 2002
Lesser Breeds, 2002
Kali for Women, Penguin Books India
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