Amit Chaudhuri was born in Calcutta in 1962, and grew up in Bombay. He was educated at the Cathedral and John Connon School, Bombay, University College London, and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he wrote a doctoral dissertation on DH Lawrence.


AMIT CHAUDHURI is Professor of Contemporary Literature at UEA.  He is the author of seven novels, the latest of which is the critically acclaimed Friend of My Youth, which explores the boundary between 'living' and 'writing'. 'He is greatly admired, especially by his peers,' said the Times Literary Supplement, calling the book 'artfully composed and utterly absorbing'. The Guardian praised the 'mastery' of the writing, saying the book was 'part novel, part manifesto'. The Financial Times podcast called it a 'mini masterpiece'.

His major works of non-fiction include Calcutta: Two Years in the City, published in the UK, US, and India in 2013; Telling Tales, a new selection of essays that appeared in the UK in the same year;  an influential book of critical essays, Clearing a Space; and a critical study of DH Lawrence's poetry, D H Lawrence and 'Difference'('a pathbreaking work', Terry Eagleton, London Review of Books). He is also the author of a book of short stories, Real Time; a book of poems, St Cyril Road and other poems; and is the editor of the Picador Book of Modern Indian Literature. Among the awards he has won for his fiction are the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Betty Trask Prize, the Encore Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and the Government of India's Sahitya Akademi Award. 

In 2013, he was awarded the first Infosys Prize in the Humanities for outstanding contribution to literary studies from a distinguished international jury including Amartya Sen, Homi Bhabha, Akeel Bilgrami, and Sheldon Pollock. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was a judge of the Man Booker International Prize. In 2008, a Guardian editorial about him appeared in the newspaper's famous 'In Praise of...' series. His first novel, A Strange and Sublime Address, is included in Colm Toibin and Carmen Callil’s Two Hundred Best Novels of the Last Fifty Years. His second novel, Afternoon Raag, was on Anne Enright’s list of 10 Best Short Novels in the Guardian.  

He is also a vocalist in the Indian classical tradition.  His project in crossover music has been performed all over the world, and he has been a featured artiste on flagship culture programmes on television and radio in the UK, including the Review Show (BBC 2) Late Junction (Radio 3), and Loose Ends (Radio 4). His version of 'Summertime' was featured on the BBC 4 television documentary, Gershwin's Summertime: the Song that Conquered the World.  He was Creative Arts Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford, Leverhulme Special Research Fellow at the Faculty of English, Cambridge, a Visiting Professor at the Writing School, Columbia University, and Samuel Fischer Guest Professor at Freie University, Berlin.

Amit Chaudhuri has taught the Prose Fiction MA in Creative Writing at UEA, and supervises PhD students in both creative writing and literature. The inaugural international creative writing workshop in prose fiction began in Calcutta in March 2013 under his direction. It was followed by a non-fiction workshop. The international writing workshops are set to continue in the foreseeable future.

He began organising an annual symposium in India on what he calls 'literary activism' from December 2014 onward, in order to create a fringe space to argue against terms set by the market and for a more complex understanding of creative practice, in a conversation engaged in by novelists, poets, essayists, academics, artists, and publishers. The space he aims for is distinct from that available in literary festivals or academic conferences. The first collection of essays from the inaugural symposium was published in the UK this year as Literary Activism: A Symposium, and in the US and India as Literary Activism: Perspectives.

Amit Chaudhuri also started a campaign called Calcutta Architectural Legacies (CAL) in order to protect distinctive neighbourhoods in Calcutta that lie beyond conventional definitions of 'heritage'.

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