Amitava Kumar Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair
Amitava Kumar is the author, most recently, of a novel Immigrant, Montana (forthcoming from Knopf in the US, Faber in the UK, and in translation elsewhere). An earlier version of the novel was recently published in India under the title The Lovers. Kumar has written several works of literary non-fiction, including the prize-winning book A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb, described by the New York Times as a “perceptive and soulful” meditation on “the cultural and human repercussions” of the global war on terror. His other titles include Passport Photos, Bombay-London-New York, Husband of a Fanatic, A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna, and Lunch with a Bigot: The Writer in the World. Kumar’s first novel, Home Products, was short-listed for India’s premier literary award and republished in the US under the title Nobody Does the Right Thing. His writings have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker.com, Bookforum, Kenyon Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Critical Inquiry, Boston Review, Caravan, The Indian Express, The New Statesman, American Prospect, and numerous other venues. “Pyre,” an essay first published in Granta, was chosen by Jonathan Franzen for The Best American Essays 2016. Kumar serves on the editorial board of several publications and is the script-writer and narrator of two documentary films: “Pure Chutney” (1997) and “Dirty Laundry” (2005). Professor Kumar teaches classes that mainly deal with: reportage; the essay-form, both in prose and film; cities; literatures describing the global movement of goods and people; war; memory-work.
- BA, MA, Delhi University; MA, Syracuse University; PhD, University of Minnesota
- At Vassar since 2005
- AMST 203. These American Lives: New Journalisms
In the Media
Author puts creative focus on everyday life
Amitava Kumar, Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair, was interviewed for a University of Houston-Victoria story.
An Immigrant Weaves His Love Stories Between Fact and Fiction
Immigrant, Montana, the latest novel by Amitava Kumar, Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair, was well reviewed by the New York Times.
Convocation: Honoring the Craft of Writing and Two Alumnae
Novelist and English Prof. Amitava Kumar talked about the art and craft of writing at Fall Convocation on Sept. 12, and two prominent alumnae were honored.
Amitava Kumar inspired by eight grey wolves to write about immigration in America’s heartland
Fiction and lies stir Immigrant, Montana author Amitava Kumar
Amitava Kumar discussed his latest novel, Immigrant, Montana, and the differences and similarities between writers and provocateurs in a Georgia Straight story.
Amitava Kumar wrote a Baffler story about his experiences as a writer wandering between fact and fiction.
Summer Reading: This Season’s Ultimate Fiction List
Immigrant, Montana, by Amitava Kumar was included in Vanity Fair’s summer reading list.
The Fight Over Free Speech on Campus Isn't Just About Free Speech
Amitava Kumar quoted in a Time magazine story about freedom of speech on college campuses.
From Pranav Mistry to Manu Prakash, 10 lesser known NRIs who have made India proud
Amitava Kumar was included in an inUth.com story about brilliant non-resident Indians.
Here is New York
Amitava Kumar, professor of English at Vassar College, shares his thoughts on four photographs from “Here is New York—A Democracy of Photographs,” an exhibition of photographs taken by amateurs and pros in the wake of 9/11.
On Love and Desire: Amitava Kumar on exploring desire like never before and why The Lovers is an “in-between novel”
Amitava Kumar quoted in an Indian Express story about his latest novel, The Lovers.
Heat of Life
Amitava Kumar penned a Chronicle of Higher Education article about the book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond.
Wanted to mess with distinction between fiction & nonfiction: Amitava Kumar on new book
Amitava Kumar’s new book The Lovers is an intriguing mix of story and reportage, anecdote and annotation—as well as picture and text. Hindustan Times.
Wanted to mess with distinction between fiction and nonfiction: Author Amitava Kumar
—India New England News.
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