Associate Professor of Literary Studies
I grew up in a small town in the north-eastern region of India, a border region near Tibet, China, Burma, and Bangladesh. This is an obscure and turbulent area, and it has informed much of my work, including my two novels, The Point of Return and An Outline of the Republic. It has also given me a certain nomadic tendency, so that in spite of living in cities for the last two decades – in Calcutta, Delhi, and New York – I continue to travel to far-flung places.
I see myself primarily as a novelist, influenced by a Goethean sense of world literature that demands widespread, constant reading of works of fiction from different parts of the world as well as history, politics, and ideas. But there are two other kinds of writing that supplement my central interest in fiction; literary criticism for a general audience and nonfiction based on reporting and research. The first allows me to consider questions of art and technique with intellectual rigor, reflecting my academic training in literature. The second emerges out of the work I have done as a journalist and makes me get out on the road and meet people and places, the rough, everyday material from which fiction is created.
I bring all of these above interests and approaches into the classroom, and from my students I expect a similar wide-ranging engagement, demonstrating the artist’s passion, the critic’s intellect, and the reporter’s endurance.
M Phil, English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India. Nonfiction, 2011.
“The Lost Generation of Manipur,” in Aids Sutra, Nonfiction. Random House, 2009.
An Outline of the Republic. A Novel. Harpercollins Ecco, 2005.
The Point of Return. A Novel. Harpercollins Ecco, 2003.
Essays, articles, reviews and fiction have appeared in:
Harpers, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Bookforum, The Boston Globe, Columbia Journalism Review, Lingua Franca, The Guardian (London), Observer (London), Times Literary Supplement (London), The Daily Telegraph (London), New Statesman (London), London Review of Books, KGB Barlit, Die Horen (Germany), Heat (Australia), Biblio (India), Civil Lines (India), The Conradian (UK), Journal of Postcolonial Writing, and Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong).
The novel, literary journalism, narrative nonfiction, travel writing
Fellow, Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies, 2009-2010.
The Nation Institute Investigative Fund, 2009.
The Point of Return was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, 2003.
An Outline of the Republic was longlisted for the Impac Dublin International Award, shortlisted for the Crossword Prize in India, and a book of the year in Daily Telegraph, London.
Society of Authors (UK) grant, 2007.
Ind Senior Project
Senior Seminar: Fiction