23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Meira Chand
© Harwig Klappert

Meira Chand

Meira Chand (1942), daughter of a Swiss mother and an Indian father, was born and raised in London. After high school she studied arts at the St. Martin’s School of Art, then specialized in textile design at Hammersmith Art School. She married an Indian business man, with whom she left England in 1962, in order to settle in Kobe, Japan, where she taught art at a school, before the family moved to Bombay in the 1970s. Overwhelmed by the country, Chand found it increasingly difficult to express her feelings in a visual way. She therefore began to write short stories. After five years in Mumbai, the family returned to Kobe in a move that temporarily ended Chand’s literary production.
Yet, one year later she started working on her first novel, which finally appeared in 1979. Critical reviews of the time praised »The Gossamer Fly«; »The Kirkus Review« called it a »mesmerizing first novel«. Chand’s debut is about the coming of age of a nine year old Japanese-British girl whose mother, who returns for health reasons, and leaves her daughter with the child’s father and brother in Japan. Based on her own multicultural heritage, Meira Chand has touched in all her novels – eight so far – upon the issue of identity and cultural alienation, and the position of the outsider within a given society.
The novels »A Choice of Evils« and »A Different Sky« are among Chands most important works. She therein develops different perspectives on an era in Asian history, and addresses the effect of British and Japanese colonial ambition in Asia. »A Choice of Evils« deals with the Japanese occupation of China in the 1930s, with the massacre of Nanking in the centre of the story. In this book the author creates fascinating and faithful image of the Japanese character. Her recent book, »A Different Sky« (2010), is set in Singapore, where the author has been living with her family since 1997. Three young people of different nationalities are the focus of the novel. Their story begins in the colonial year of 1927, covering the time of the Japanese occupation and the period before Singapore became an independent nation.
Meira Chand has received several literary awards. She was a Writer in Residence at Mansfield College, Oxford, and at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia. She was the chairwoman of the Commonwealth Writers Prize of the South East Asian / Southern Pacific region. The author lives in Singapore.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin


The Gossamer Fly
John Murray
London, 1979

The Bonsai Tree
John Murray
London, 1983

A Choice of Evils
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
London, 1996

A Far Horizon
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
London, 2001

A Different Sky
Harvill Secker
London, 2010