is Hanuman from the Ramayana and other traditional Indian stories
Jamila Gavin was born in Mussoorie, India, and spent her early childhood playing amongst the sugar canes in the foothills of the Himalayas. Her Indian father and English mother had met as teachers in Iran, and from them she inherited a strong sense of belonging to two rich cultures. As she grew up, Jamila lived in an Indian palace in Punjab, a flat in a bombed-out street in Shepherd’s Bush, London, a bungalow in Poona, and London again, in a terraced house in Ealing, where she was the only Asian child in her school. Jamila studied music in London, Paris and Berlin before working in the music department of the BBC. When she had children, she decided to write, setting up a desk in her chilly garden shed. Her first collection of short stories, The Magic Orange Tree, was published in 1979. Since then she has written over 40 novels and collections, including Grandpa Chatterji, The Surya Trilogy and the award-winning Coram Boy, which was adapted for the stage. Jamila believes that Asian and black children’s lives are not sufficiently reflected in books, and wants her stories to help to redress this balance.
Q&A with Cambridge Jones