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About Sara Banerji

“Sara Banerji’s view of the world is completely original and vivid… she is always worth reading” Philip Pullman

Sara Banerji, author, sculptor, artist and creative writing teacher, is a well-established figure in the literary world. As well as writing her own work, she teaches creative writing, hosts writers’ discussion groups – and launched the highly successful monthly ‘SparkOxford’ storytelling series.

Sara also exhibits her paintings and sculptures in Oxford and has regularly featured in Oxford’s Artsweeks.

She is the daughter of Anita Mostyn, a novelist who wrote in the 1950’s under the pen name Anne Mary Feilding, and of Sir Basil Mostyn, Bart.  A descendant of the same family as 18th century “father of the novel form”, Henry Fielding, Sara’s voice is described by critics as ‘original and highly imaginative’ ‘entertaining’,’bold’, ‘punchy’, ‘exciting’, ‘gripping, fluid and confident’. She is widely acclaimed as ‘a very gifted storyteller’.

Born in England and evacuated to various large and crumbling country mansions during the war, Sara spent the later part of her childhood in a mud rondavel in what was then Southern Rhodesia, where her father grew tobacco. She later hitchhiked round Europe, worked as an au pair and went to art school in Austria.

While working in a coffee bar in Oxford, Sara met her husband-to-be, a law undergraduate from India. She lived for seventeen years with her husband and three daughters on tea plantations in the hills of South India and in Assam in the North East. She and her husband also ran a dairy and poultry farm in her husband’s ancestral village in West Bengal. During these years she held exhibitions of her oil paintings, rode as a jockey, and started writing novels.

Returning to England, broke because of Indian currency restrictions, she bought ponies and gave riding lessons, cooked Indian feasts for people’s dinner parties, and set up a gardening business. During this period she learnt Transcendental Meditation and yogic flying, which she has practised ever since.

Her first novel, ‘Cobwebwalking’, was published in 1986. She now lives in Oxford where she continues to write, paint and make her unique sculptures, and cultivate her prolific allotment.

Sara has published over a dozen novels. Her publishers have included Victor Gollancz, Transworld and Harper Collins, and her books have appeared in hardback and paperback editions. Her most recent novels are published on Kindle. Six of her novels have now been published as EBooks by Bloomsbury .

She won the Arts Council of England award, The Author’s Foundation award, the Write Out Loud award, was long-listed for the Booker prize and her last book was nominated for the IMPAC award.

She taught creative writing at Oxford University’s Department of Continuing Education and has also taught at many other venues including the Cheltenham Literature Festival and on a Greek island. Several of her students have had their novels published by mainstream publishers, their plays performed on the professional stage or have won literary prizes. She and her students put on several public literary events for Oxfringe each year and together have created several collections of stories, the most recent being three books of short stories set in and around Oxford.

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