Bapsi Sidhwa (Urdu: بیپسی سدھوا; born 11 August 1936) is a Pakistani American novelist of Gujarati Parsi descent who writes in English and is resident in the United States.
She is best known for her collaborative work with Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta: Sidhwa wrote both the 1991 novel Ice Candy Man which served as the basis for Mehta's 1998 film Earth as well as the 2006 novel Water: A Novel on which is based Mehta's 2005 film Water. A documentary about Sidhwa's life called "Bapsi: Silences of My Life" is currently in production and is expected to release 2021.
Sidhwa was born to Gujarati Parsi Zoroastrian parents Peshotan and Tehmina Bhandara in Karachi and later moved with her family to Lahore. She was two when she contracted polio (which has affected her throughout her life) and nine in 1947 at the time of Partition (facts which would shape the character Lenny in her novel Ice Candy Man as well as the background for her novel). She received her BA from Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore in 1957.
She married at the age of 19 and moved to Bombay for five years before she divorced and remarried in Lahore with her present husband Noshir who is also Zoroastrian. She had three children in Pakistan before beginning her career as an author. One of her children is Mohur Sidhwa, who is a candidate for state representative in Arizona.
She currently resides in Houston, US. She describes herself as a "Punjabi-Parsi-Pakistani". Her first language is Gujarati, her second language is Urdu, and her third language is English. She can read and write best in English, but she is more comfortable talking in Gujarati or Urdu, and often translates literally from Gujarati or Urdu to English.
In an online interview to her Pakistani friend, Sadia Rehman, in August 2012 she said, "Feroza is closest to me and my views" about the identity issues of Pakistani Parsi immigrants to the US, their life-styles and their culture.
She has previously taught at the University of Houston, Rice University, Columbia University, Mount Holyoke College, and Brandeis University.
- Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard (1986)
- Visiting Scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation Center, Bellagio, Italy, (1991)
- Sitara-i-Imtiaz, (1991, Pakistan's highest national honor in the arts)
- Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award (1994)
- Premio Mondello for Foreign Authors for Water (2007)
- Inducted in the Zoroastrian Hall of Fame (2000)
- Their Language of Love : published by Readings Lahore (2013, Pakistan.)
- Jungle Wala Sahib (Translation) (Urdu) : Published by Readings Lahore (2012, Pakistan)
- City of Sin and Splendour : Writings on Lahore (2006, US)
- Water: A Novel (2006, US and Canada)
- Bapsi Sidhwa Omnibus (2001, Pakistan)
- An American Brat (1993, U.S.; 1995, India)
- Cracking India (1991, U.S.; 1992, India; originally published as Ice Candy Man, 1988, England)
- The Bride (1982, England; 1983;1984, India; published as The Pakistani Bride, 1990 US and 2008 US)
- The Crow Eaters (1978, Pakistan; 1979 &1981, India; 1980, England; 1982, US)