Sara Banerji, author, sculptor, artist and creative writing teacher, is a well-established figure in the literary and local art world. As well as writing her own work, she teaches creative writing, hosts writers’ discussion groups. Sara also exhibits her paintings and sculptures in Oxford and has regularly featured in Oxford’s Artweeks. Her unique style of sculpture and collage uses found and recycled materials to create sculptures that seem to dance and pictures that appear to glitter. And you may also find yourself leaving her studio with a jar of homemade jam made from the fruit on her allotment of honey from the bees in her garden.
Sara is the daughter of Sir Basil Mostyn, Bart. and of Anita Mostyn, an Oxford-based novelist who wrote in the 1950’s under the pen name Anne Mary Feilding, who is a descendant of the same family as 18th century “father of the novel form”, Henry Fielding. Born in England and evacuated to various large and crumbling country mansions during the war, Sara spent the later part of her childhood in a mud rondavel in what was then Southern Rhodesia, where her father grew tobacco. She later hitchhiked round Europe, worked as an au pair and went to art school in Austria.
While working in a coffee bar in Oxford, Sara met her husband-to-be, a law undergraduate from India. She lived for seventeen years with her husband and three daughters on tea plantations in the hills of South India and in Assam in the North East. She and her husband also ran a dairy and poultry farm in her husband’s ancestral village in West Bengal. During these years she held exhibitions of her oil paintings, rode as a jockey, and started writing novels. The family returned to England in 1973, and she has lived back in Oxford for over 30 years, where she has continued painting, writing, teaching, creating sculptures, tending her garden and allotment, complete with chickens and bees.