Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Literary Birthday – 7 May – Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was born 7 May 1927, and died 3 April 2013.

Nine Quotes

  1. I live so much more in and for the books.
  2. Film is not like a book; it’s not a writer’s baby at all. So many people have put in their talent, by that time that you feel grateful for what they’ve done, you don’t feel possessive about it in any way.
  3. I’m more interested in other people than myself.
  4. They are no longer the same because I myself am no longer the same. India always changes people, and I have been no exception.
  5. The older books were quite light-hearted. But I think most of my novels do end on a deep note of pessimism. Shadows seem to be closing in. The final conclusion isn’t that life is wonderful and everything is bright and cheery and in the garden.
  6. I am dissatisfied with everything I have ever written and regard it all only as a preparation for that one work which probably I don’t have it in me to write but which I hope I can go on trying for.
  7. All my early books are written as if I were Indian. In England, I had started writing as if I were English; now I write as if I were American. You take other peoples backgrounds and characters; Keats called it negative capability.
  8. England gave me a language and literature, the basis of what I am as a writer.
  9. I like characters who are larger-than-life, whether life-loving women or the artist or guru who grabs everything. But I don’t live among people like that.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was a German-born British and American Booker prize-winning novelist, short story writer and two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter. She won the Oscars for her adapted screenplays of Room with a View and Howard’s End.  She was awarded the Man Booker Prize for Heat and Dust in 1975.


Gotfryd, Bernard, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 7th May 2016