Kiran Desai

Kiran Desai studied at Cathedral School, Bennington College, Hollins University and Columbia University. Learn about her formative college education and path to literary fame.

7 Min Read

Kiran Desai is a celebrated Indian author who has earned acclaim for her insightful depictions of postcolonial globalization, multiculturalism and the quest for identity. Her prestigious college education at some of the world’s leading institutions helped spark her passion for storytelling and molded her into the literary icon she is today.

Kiran Desai was born in India in 1971 and spent her childhood studying at the prestigious Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai. After graduating high school, she moved to the United States to attend the prestigious Bennington College in Vermont. This small liberal arts college nurtured her creative spirit and led her to pursue writing. Desai would go on to earn MFA degrees from both Hollins University and Columbia University.

Let’s take a closer look at Kiran Desai’s educational background and how it helped pave the path to her literary success.

Quick Facts About Kiran Desai’s Life and Career

  • Born in India in 1971
  • Studied at Cathedral School, Mumbai
  • Attended Bennington College
  • Earned MFAs from Hollins University and Columbia University
  • Won the 2006 Man Booker Prize for The Inheritance of Loss
  • Her novel Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard was published in 1998
  • Daughter of acclaimed author Anita Desai

Who is Kiran Desai?

Kiran Desai is an Indian-American author recognized for her insightful contemporary fiction on themes like globalization, multiculturalism and postcolonial struggles. She was born in India in 1971 to celebrated novelist Anita Desai and businessman Ashvin Desai.

Despite her shy and introverted childhood in India, Kiran demonstrated strong creative talents early on. She spent her youth studying at Mumbai’s prestigious Cathedral School before moving abroad to attend college in America. This transcontinental educational journey expanded her worldview and shaped her multifaceted literary works.

Where Did Kiran Desai Go To College? Her Education History

Kiran Desai’s college education took her across oceans and exposed her to diverse cultures and ideas that deeply influenced her writing. Here’s a look at her formative educational background:

Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai

Desai attended the Cathedral School in Mumbai for her primary and secondary education. Founded in 1860, this reputable institution cultivated her early passion for learning and literature.

Bennington College

Desai moved to the United States and enrolled at Bennington College in Vermont. This small liberal arts school nurtured her creative spirit through its unique interdisciplinary curriculum and flexible academic structure.

Hollins University

After Bennington, Desai went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from Hollins University – a leading program for aspiring writers. This further enriched her storytelling abilities.

Columbia University

Desai capped off her elite education by earning another MFA from Columbia University – one of America’s most prestigious Ivy League institutions.

This exceptional educational background provided a strong foundation for Desai’s blossoming literary talents and equipped her to become an award-winning author.

What is Kiran Desai’s Net Worth?

Thanks to her acclaimed novels like The Inheritance of Loss and Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, Kiran Desai has amassed an estimated net worth of $5 million as per celebrity net worth sites. She earned lucrative book advances and royalties after achieving literary success.

Desai’s prestigious education enabled her creative talents and led to her financial prosperity as a top fiction writer. Her Man Booker Prize win for The Inheritance of Loss in 2006 markedly boosted her wealth and fame.

Desai’s Literary Themes and Accomplishments

Kiran Desai’s fiction explores profound themes like postcolonial struggles, globalization, multiculturalism, poverty, racism, cultural identity and human loneliness. Despite her shy personality, her writing gives deep insights into humanity and cross-cultural experiences.

Desai earned fame with her debut novel Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard in 1998. Her 2006 book The Inheritance of Loss cemented her reputation by winning the Man Booker Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award.

Her works sensitively depict the joys and challenges of individuals caught between different cultures in a globalized world. Desai’s own transcontinental educational journey no doubt played a key role in shaping her multifaceted literary themes.

Follow Kiran Desai on Social Media

FAQs About Kiran Desai’s Education and Writing

What are some major works by Kiran Desai?

Some of Kiran Desai’s major literary works include the novels Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard (1998) and The Inheritance of Loss (2006), which won the Man Booker Prize.

Where did Kiran Desai attend college in India?

Desai attended the Cathedral and John Connon School, a prestigious private school in Mumbai, for her primary and secondary education.

What college did Kiran Desai attend in the United States?

In the US, Desai attended Bennington College in Vermont where she earned her bachelor’s degree before going on to earn MFAs from Hollins University and Columbia University.

Did Kiran Desai study creative writing in college?

Yes, after starting as a science major at Bennington College, Desai switched to studying creative writing which set her on the path to becoming an acclaimed novelist.

How did Kiran Desai’s education shape her writing?

Desai’s elite education across continents expanded her worldview which deeply influenced the global themes and multicultural characters that she explores through her insightful contemporary fiction.

What awards has Kiran Desai won for her novels?

Desai won the Man Booker Prize in 2006 for her celebrated novel The Inheritance of Loss. She also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for this book.