Out of India An Anglo-Indian Childhood by Jamila Gavin


Out of India An Anglo-Indian Childhood by Jamila Gavin

'I am truly a child of both countries and both cultures.' Born to an Indian father and an English mother, Jamila Gavin's childhood was divided between two worlds. Her earliest memories are of India, where she lived in a crumbling palace built for a prince, and learned to steal sugar cane and suck mangoes. But she would spend much of her childhood in England, where she picked blackberries, got chilblains, and learned to recognise doodlebug bombs. And between the two there were unforgettable journeys, by bullock carts and tongas, crowded trains and romantic P&O liners. A touching and very personal recollection, with a backdrop of world-shaking events, from the Blitz of World War II to the struggle for Indian independence and the assassination of Gandhi. Illustrated with the author's own delightful photographs.


A timely memoir of her Anglo-Indian childhood which deepens the understanding of her novels ... a unique record of dual heritage. -- The Times Her story provides a fascinating - and not always comfortable - insight into the life of a family straddling two powerfully contrasting cultures. -- The Guardian ...offers an enlightening, mixed-race slant on Indian independence as well as an account of a pre-TV, all-skipping 1940s childhood. The contrast between grey, cabbage-scented England and the vibrant sensuality of India is revealing as well. -- The Independent evocative and absorbing -- Writing Magazine, February-March 2003 a very moving and personal reminiscence...Filled with the author's own delightful and poignant photos, this Anglo-Indian story will touch anyone's heart while also teaching readers about Indian traditions and culture. -- 4:teens, April 2003 a hilarious and informative account...It is something many mixed race children will be able to identify with. -- The Voice

About the Author

Jamila Gavin

Jamila was born in Mussoorie (Bombay), India, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Her Indian father and English mother met as teachers in Iran and by the age of eleven she had lived in an Indian palace in the Punjab, a flat in a bombed out street in Shepherd’s Bush, a bungalow in Poona, near Mumbai and a terraced house in Ealing. She settled into a little town cottage in Stroud, Gloucestershire twenty five years ago but she still loves to travel.

With an Indian father and an English mother, She inherited two rich cultures which ran side by side throughout her life, and which always made her feel she belonged to both countries. Her childhood memoir, "Out Of India" traces her life, illustrating the experiences from which she draws many of the ideas for my books.

Her family settled in England where she completed her schooling and further training as a music student at Trinity College of Music, London. After studies in Paris and Berlin she joined the BBC, first as a Studio Manager in radio, then crossed over to television as a Production Assistant and Director in Music and Arts Programmes. Later, she married Barrie Gavin and they had two children, a son, Rohan and a daughter, Indi. It was then that she began writing children's books, and felt a need to reflect the multi-cultural world in which she and her children lived.

Since her first book, "The Magic Orange Tree" was published in 1979, She has been writing steadily, producing collections of short stories, teenage novels and many books for educational schemes for the whole age range from six to sixteen. Her books have included "Grandpa Chatterji", which was short-listed for the Smarties Award and was dramatised for television on Channel 4 Schools, "Monkey in the Stars" which she then dramatised for a commission by the Polka Theatre, where it was performed in the autumn 2000 and "The Surya Trilogy" of which the first, "The Wheel of Surya", was special runner up for the Guardian Children's Fiction Award in 1992, while the others were subsequently all shortlisted for the same award.

Her novel, "Coram Boy", set in 18th century England, won the 2000 Whitbread Children's Book of the Year Award and her first radio play, "The God at the Gate", broadcast as Play for Today on Radio 4 in September 2001, was shortlisted for the Richard Imison Award.

Her latest novel, "The Blood Stone", was published in November 2003. Set in 17th Century India and Venice, it is about a boy who has to take a diamond to India as a ransom to free his father, who is being held hostage in Afghanistan.

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128 pages


Jamila Gavin
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Publication date

12th September 2002



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