Kamala Markandaya was born in 1924 in Mysore, in southern India. Between 1940 and 1947, she worked as a journalist and published short stories in Indian newspapers. She married an Englishman and immigrated to England in 1948, where she had one daughter. Markandaya published Nectar in a Sieve, her first novel, in 1954, to wide critical acclaim. A huge commercial success, it quickly became a modern classic.