Anita Rau Badami, writer (b 1961 at Rourkela, Odisha, India). Badami grew up in India and earned a BA in English from the University of Madras. She studied Social Communications Media at Sophia College, in Bombay, and worked as a copywriter and freelance journalist in India, before moving to Canada in 1991. Badami, who published many children's stories in Indian magazines, earned an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary (1995). Anita Rau Badami has won national and international acclaim for her moving, but often humorous, portrayal of family life in Canada and India.
Badami's graduate thesis at the University of Calgary was quickly accepted for publication as a novel. Tamarind Mem (published asTamarind Woman in the United States) appeared in 1996. Set in Calgary and in the Indian railroad colonies of Badami's own childhood, the book centers on the complicated relationship between a young graduate student in Canada and her widowed mother back in India. Through these two narrators, who recount radically different versions of their family history, Badami explores the powerful but constricting forces of memory and familial expectation.
Badami garnered international awards and high praise for her second novel, The Hero's Walk (2001). The novel is set in a small town on India's Bay of Bengal, where a seven-year-old Canadian girl comes to live with her maternal grandparents, after her parents are killed in a car accident. Having to take sudden responsibility for his unknown granddaughter is just one of many difficult familial relationships facing the protagonist, the middle-aged Sripathi Rao. Reviewers praise Badami's deft portrayal of both intimate domestic life and the tumultuous, teeming world of contemporary India.
Can You Hear the Nightbird Call?, Badami's third novel, was published in 2006. The work opens in Punjab, India, in 1928 and closes in Vancouver, nearly 60 years later. Through her three female protagonists, Badami shows the devastating personal impact of the major events of 20th-century Sikh history: from the 1914 Komagata Maru incident, to the 1947 Partition of India, to the 1985 Air India bombing.
Anita Rau Badami has won the Commonwealth Best Book Prize in the Canada/Caribbean Region, for The Hero's Walk, and was the recipient of the Marian Engel Award, for her body of work.