Oscar-winning writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has died at the age of 85.

The screenwriter and novelist passed away at her New York home on Wednesday (03Apr13) from complications of a pulmonary disorder she had suffered with for some time.

Born in Germany in 1927, Jhabvala emigrated to Britain with her family at the age of 12 to escape the Nazi regime.

In 1951, she wed Indian architect Cyrus Jhabvala and moved to Delhi, where she began writing novels about the exotic country and the culture she found herself immersed in.

Her first book, To Whom She Will, about a young Indian woman who falls in love with the wrong man, was published in 1955 and she went on to release other titles, including The Nature of Passion and Esmond in India, all based in her new homeland.

Her short stories were later published in America's The New Yorker, opening her up to a wider audience.

Jhabvala penned her first script in the 1960s with producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory, and the trio worked together on more than 20 films throughout the years, including their two Academy Award-winning screenplays for 1985's A Room With a View and Howards End in 1992.

She was also awarded Britain's coveted Booker Prize in 1975 for romance novel Heat and Dust, which was adapted for the big screen in 1983.