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Anita Rau Badami was born in 1961 in India. Her father, who worked as a mechanical engineer and designed trains, was transferred every two or three years, so that she had a mobile childhood.
She has always loved writing, and sold her first short story when she was 18. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Madras, after which she studied Social Communications Media at Sophia College, Bombay.
She worked as a copywriter for advertising agencies in Bombay, Bangalore and Madras, and freelanced for major Indian newspapers for several years. She also published stories in children's magazines. She moved to Canada in 1991 and in 1995 was awarded a Master's degree in English Literature from the University of Calgary.
Her graduate thesis became her first novel, Tamarind Mem, which was published worldwide in 1996. Her bestselling second novel, The Hero's Walk, won the Regional Commonwealth Writers Prize, Italy's Premio Berto and was also named a Washington Post Best Book of 2001. It was also long listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction, and shortlisted for the Kiriyama Prize. As well, she is the recipient of the Marian Engel Award for a woman writer in mid-career. Anita Badami has, until today, written four novels: Tamarind Mem (1997), The Hero’s Walk (2001), Can You Hear the Nightbird Call (2006), and Tell it to the Trees (2011).