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Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Known for her long-time collaboration with Merchant Ivory Films, novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is the only writer to have won both a Booker Prize and the Academy Award for her work. Jhabvala fled Germany for England in 1939 and married Cyrus Jhabvala in 1951, moving to India with him. In 1975 she finally settled in New York. She published her first novel, To Whom She Will, in 1955 and went on to write many novels and short stories about the displaced, the dispossessed, and those who simply didn’t fit, winning the Booker Prize for Heat and Dust in 1975. In 1963 Jhabvala was approached by James Ivory and Ismail Merchant to turn her book The Householder into their first movie. She collaborated with them on nearly two dozen movies, writing the screenplays for Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, Jefferson in Paris, Surviving Picasso, and Remains of the Day. She won the Academy Award in 1986 for Room with a View and in 1992 for Howard’s End. Stretching the boundaries of her craft, she wrote My Nine Lives: Chapters of a Possible Past in 2004, a semiautobiographical exploration of alternate paths she could have taken.

More on: Film, Fiction
More on Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and William Phillips, 1962
Full image
Writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and William Phillips at a 1962 PEN meeting in New Delhi.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Date of Birth
May 7, 1927
Place of Birth
Date of Death
April 3, 2013

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Prawer Jhabvala." (Viewed on January 16, 2018) <>.


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