On 8 May 2016 the National Library of Israel hosted world-renowned mother-daughter novelists Anita and Kiran Desai as they began their stay in Jerusalem as the first 'Marie Residency' writers-in-residence at Mishkenot Shaananim.
The special evening also included His Excellency the Indian Ambassador Pavan Kapoor and Israeli authors and writers, together with Mme Beatrice Rosenberg de Rothschild, in whose daughter's memory the Marie Residency was established.
Guests viewed a display of NLI treasures curated by archivist Dr. Stefan Litt. Among the items shown were illustrated and handwritten poems by Hermann Hesse and a handwritten manuscript from Mahatma Gandhi. A dinner was then held at which the Desai's delighted the guests with insights about writing, and Anita Desai read from her work 'Baumgartner's Bombay'.
Anita Desai is an Indian novelist and the Emerita John E. Burchard Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Listed for the Booker Prize three times, she has received many awards for her work including from India's National Academy of Letters and the British Guardian.
Kiran Desai, her daughter, also born and raised in India, won the 2006 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for her novel 'The Inheritance of Loss'.
The Marie Residency has been established in tribute to the life of Marie Brandolini (7.04.1963 - 30.05.2013) the daughter of Madame Beatrice Rosenberg de Rothschild. Marie was an accomplished artist, well known as a glass designer working in Murano. She also enjoyed literature in a wide range of genres and from many different cultures. Marie made her home in Venice, but visited Jerusalem and appreciated its importance to her family. The Marie Residency brings a writer to these two cities for an extended period – with time to work, give public lectures and experience each city.