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WGA gives Laurel to Jhabvala

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, high-brow scribbler of such pix as “A Room With a View” and “Howards End,” was named winner of the Writers Guild of America 1994 Screen Laurel award Monday.

Jhabvala is the fourth woman to receive the WGA’s highest honor, bestowed upon writers who have “advanced the literature of the motion picture through the years.”

She will be presented the prize at the WGA awards dinner Sunday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

A longtime collaborator with producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory, Jhabvala scripted “The Remains of the Day,” nominated for best adapted screenplay in both the WGA Awards and the Oscars.

Among the 13 films she has scripted are “The Europeans,””Quartet, “”Shakespeare Wallah,””The Bostonians” and “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge.”

A past winner of the WGA screenplay award and the Oscar for “A Room With a View,” Jhabvala has often used India as a background for her writing. German born, she moved to the subcontinent in 1951 and has written scores of stories and articles about the struggling nation.

Since 1955, she has penned eight novels set in the subcontinent, including “The Householder,” which was her first adaptation of her own novel to a screenplay for Merchant and Ivory.

“It is fitting that, as we celebrate the centennial of the motion picture, we honor the work of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala,” said Frank Pierson, WGA prexy. “Her work has given us a rare insight into the standards and mores that prevailed at the beginning of this century.”

A WGA release said Jhabvala, or a representative, is expected to attend the awards ceremonies.

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