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Bapsi Sidhwa papers

Identifier: MS 0885
Finding aid note: Stored off-site at the Library Service Center and requires 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Scope and Contents

The Bapsi Sidhwa papers contain materials related to Bapsi’s writing, such as manuscripts, drafts, and contracts and correspondence with the publishers of her several books. Also contained in the collection are Bapsi’s essays, articles, reviews, and lecture notes from speaking events. Many of Bapsi's published books, often with personal commentary and notes written in, can also be found in the collection. A large portion of the papers are devoted to the press surrounding Bapsi’s work--including reviews, articles, and interviews from America, the United Kingdom, India, and Pakistan. Lastly, a section of the collection contains materials related to Bapsi’s family life, including correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

The materials are in good condition and range in date from 1943 to 2018. Researchers interested in Women’s Issues, the Indian Partition, Bapsi’s relationships with family, friends, and acquaintances, and particularly the process of writing Bapsi’s novels, will find this collection enlightening.


  • Creation: 1943 - 2018

Conditions Governing Access

This material is restricted. Stored off-site at the Library Service Center and requires 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Bapsi Sidhwa papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy, literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years. These materials include, but are not limited to, student grades, transcripts, and any job applications or recommendations.

Biographical / Historical

Born August 11, 1938 to Gujarati Parsi Zoroastrian parents Peshotan and Tehmina Bhandara, Bapsi Sidhwa is an American–Pakistani novelist whose books, including “The Crow Eaters,” “The Pakistani Bride,” “Cracking India,” and “An American Brat,” have gained international acclaim for their exploration of the identity issues of Pakistani Parsi immigrants to the US, their life-styles and their culture.

After she was born, Bapsi’s parents moved from Karachi to the city of Lahore, a large influence on Bapsi’s later writing. Bapsi contracted polio at the age of two, and was nine at the time of the Partition--both events shaped her later writing, especially through the character of Lenny in “Ice Candy Man.” In 1957, Bapsi received her BA from Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore. She married at the age of 19 and moved to Bombay for five years before she divorced and remarried in Lahore with her second husband Noshir Sidhwa. She had three children in Pakistan before beginning her career as an author.

Bapsi is perhaps best known for her collaborative work with Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta; Her novels “Ice Candy Man (1991)” and “Water: A Novel” formed the basis for the latter two films in Mehta’s “Elements” Trilogy, “Earth,” and “Water.” In addition to her novels, Bapsi has written essays and reviews for publications, and travelled for speaking engagements, spending a great deal of time abroad before settling in Houston. Bapsi has also taught at Columbia University, University of Houston, Mount Holyoke College, Southampton University, and Brandeis.

Bapsi’s work focuses especially on improving the struggles of women in the Indian subcontinent, and she served on the advisory committee to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Women’s Development in pursuit of that goal. Among her many honors, Bapsi received the Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Pakistan’s highest national honor in the arts), the LiBeraturepreis in Germany, and the 2007 Primo Mondello Award in Italy.


14 Linear Feet (4 Boxes)

Language of Materials



The Bapsi Sidhwa papers comprise the books, drafts, notes, and personal papers of the acclaimed American-Pakistani author Bapsi Sidhwa. Known for her captivating novels exploring mainly women’s issues in the Indian subcontinent, Bapsi has made her mark with her deeply insightful prose and outspoken voice.


The collection is arranged in five series, as follows:

Series I: Writings

Series II: Events and Related Research

Series III: PUblishing Materials

Series IV: Press

Series V: Personal Files

Series VI: Books

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials were donated by Mohur Sidhwa in September of 2018.

Guide to the Bapsi Sidhwa papers, 1943-2018
Gabby Parker
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Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA