Novelist and Screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala dies at age 85

Success came to Ruth Prawer Jhabvala both as a novelist and screenwriter as she won the Booker Prize for Dust and Bone which was published in 1975 and two Academy Awards for adapting two books by E.M. Forster for the big screen, A Room with a View (1986) and Howards End (1992). “I have great rapport with Forster and his life,” Jhabvala stated during an interview with the Writers Guild of America.  “I grew up in England, and I went to India, the same as him. I knew the sort of characters he wrote about. I knew the Indian characters he wrote about. I knew them well. It wasn’t strange territory for me. For example, sometimes people send me books set in Iowa or somewhere. I would have no idea! A book set in England or India? Okay, that’s fine. Or even here on the East coast, that’s fine. I’ve met those people.”

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala who died on April 3, 2013 at the age of 85 partnered with director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant to make 22 films starting with her novel The Householder (1963).  “It is a strange marriage we have at Merchant Ivory,” Merchant told the Times of London just before his death in 2005. “I am an Indian Muslim, Ruth is a German Jew, and Jim is a Protestant American. Someone once described us as a three-headed god. Maybe they should have called us a three-headed monster!”

Ismail Merchant, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and James Ivory

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