Anita Desai knows from cruel experience about the horrors of competing for big literary awards. Three times the renowned Indian novelist has been a finalist for the MAN Booker Prize for fiction, and three times she's failed to win it. But last week, says Desai, the stress was worse than ever—because this time, the finalist was her daughter Kiran. Roused by her sister-in-law at 5 a.m. on Oct. 11, Anita turned on the television to see that Kiran, at age 35, had become the youngest woman ever to win the Booker. "I wanted it so much for her," says Anita, speaking from the family's residence in New Delhi. "It's far more intense to have my daughter listed and win than to be shortlisted for it myself. I would have been more unhappy than her had she not won." Accepting the prize for her second novel, The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran thanked her mother, whose committed support during the eight years it took to write the book even led Kiran to describe Anita as its "co-author"—although her mother, like any proud parent, demurs. "I don't know why she keeps talking about me," says Anita.