Kishwar Desai

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Kishwar Desai
Born Kishwar Rosha
(1956-12-01) 1 December 1956 (age 60)
Ambala, Punjab, India
Alma mater Lady Shri Ram College
Occupation Author
Spouse(s) Lord Desai

Kishwar Desai (née Rosha) (born 1 December 1956) is an Indian author and columnist. Her latest novel The Sea of Innocence has just been published in India and will shortly be published in UK and Australia. Her first novel, Witness the Night,[1] won the Costa Book Award[2] in 2010 for Best First Novel and has been translated into over 25 languages. It was also shortlisted for the Author's Club First Novel Award and longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. Her critically acclaimed novel, Origins of Love,[3][4][5] was published in June 2012. Desai also has a biography, Darlingji: The True Love Story of Nargis and Sunil Dutt,[6] to her credit.

Early life and education[edit]

Born Kishwar Rosha on 1 December 1956 in Ambala, Punjab (now Haryana) to Padam and Rajini Rosha, she grew up in Chandigarh, where her father was the head of Punjab Police, and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College in 1977, in Economics (Hons).


She started her career as a print journalist and worked as a political reporter with the Indian Express moving on to television and broadcast media after a while, where she worked for over two decades. She worked as anchor, TV producer and head of a TV channel with some of the major Indian television networks. She was also the Vice President at Zee Telefilms (Zee TV). She anchored Doordarshan's morning show, Good Morning Today after which she took over as the CEO of Tara Punjabi TV channel, a part of Broadcast Worldwide, which was established by former STAR TV head, Rathikant Basu. Thereafter Kishwar moved to Zee and NDTV, where she worked as a producer.

Kishwar Desai has written four books. She currently writes columns for The Week magazine, The Asian Age and The Tribune newspapers.

Literary career[edit]

Desai’s recently released novel The Sea of Innocence is the third in the series, featuring the feisty Indian middle-aged social worker-cum-crime investigator, Simran Singh.

Her award-winning novel Witness the Night, which was the first in the Simran Singh series, dealt with female foeticide. In a small town in the heart of India, a young girl, barely alive, is found in a sprawling house where thirteen people lie dead. Simran is now her only hope as she is charged with the murder of those dead. The judges of the Costa Award (Anita Rani, Anneka Rice and Mark Thornton)[7] said “Kishwar Desai pulls off a remarkable trick, transplanting a country-house murder to modern-day India in a book that's not afraid to tackle serious themes.” Witness the Night was also shortlisted for the Author’s Club First Novel Award and longlisted for the 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize.

In Origins of Love, Desai took a close look at surrogacy and adoption. Simran Singh is asked to examine the case of an abandoned baby at an IVF clinic and what follows is a maze of new age fertility rites, and surrogacy. It received critical acclaim in UK, Australia and India. And in her latest, The Sea of Innocence, Simran Singh is trying to find a British girl Liza Kay who has gone missing from the beaches of Goa. It has recently been published in India and has been receiving rave reviews. The Sea of Innocence is influenced by the Delhi gangrape case last December.

Prior to writing fiction, Desai wrote a probing yet affectionate biography of Nargis and Sunil Dutt, two iconic Indian film stars, in Darlingji: The True Love Story of Nargis and Sunil Dutt. The book based on interviews with the Dutt family and friends, explored their lives in detail and tells the larger story of the evolution of Hindi cinema, and of a society and a nation in the throes of change. Desai has also written a play, Manto!, based on the life of the famous Urdu writer, Saadat Hasan Manto, which won the TAG Omega Award[8] for Best Play in 1999. Desai is now working on the next book in Simran Singh series.

Personal life[edit]

After her first marriage, she changed her name to Kishwar Ahluwalia[9] and has a son, Gaurav and a daughter, Malika from the marriage. On 20 July 2004, after a divorce, she married[10][11] economist Meghnad Desai,[12] a member of the British House of Lords. She lives between London, Delhi and Goa.



  1. ^ "No Girlhoods". Outlook India. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 2012-07-28
  2. ^ "Two books on India in UK literary award shortlist – TheTimes of India". Time of India. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 2012-07-28.[1]
  3. ^ "No Girlhoods". Outlook India. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 2012-07-28
  4. ^ "Origins of Love". The Independent. 15 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-28
  5. ^ "Origins of Love". ABC Radio National. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-28.[2]
  6. ^ "The Queen and the Commoner". India Today. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 2012-07-28.[3]
  7. ^ Costa Books Awards 2010. The Telegraph. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 2012-07-28. [4]
  8. ^ "Sponsors beg off, it's curtains for theatre". The Indian Express. 11 June 1999.[5]
  9. ^ "People: Kishwar Ahluwalia Profile". Business Today. 22 June 2000
  10. ^ "Made for Each other". The Tribune. 8 August 2009
  11. ^ "Lord Meghnad weds his lady love". The Times of India. 20 July 2004
  12. ^ "Desai unravels economics of Pound: Khushwant Singh". The Tribune. 13 May 2006.[6]

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