Amitava Kumar Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair
Amitava Kumar is the author, most recently, of a novel entitled A Time Outside This Time (forthcoming from Knopf in the US, Picador in the UK, and in translation elsewhere). His last novel, Immigrant, Montana, was named among the “notable books of the year” by the New York Times and also the “best books of the year” by the New Yorker. President Barack Obama included it among his favorite books of the year. 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; Lunch with a Bigot: The Writer in the World; and, most recently, Every Day I Write the Book. 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 is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a United States Artists fellowship, and residencies from Yaddo, MacDowell, the Lannan Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio. He 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
- ENGL 101. The Art of Reading and Writing
- ENGL 209. Advanced Creative Writing: Narrative
In the Media
Amitava Kumar on painting to remember the Delhi riots
Professor Amitava Kumar, Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair, talked with Mint Lounge about his recent artwork—paintings and drawings.
Ved Mehta, an Eclectic Writer of Prose Whose Disability Didn't Prevent Him from Seeing the World
Amitava Kumar, Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair, wrote a Wire story about New Yorker author Ved Mehta and the impact his writing had on him.
Prime Time With Ravish Kumar: Online पढ़ाई- आफत या मिठाई?
Amitava Kumar, Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair, was interviewed on NDTV about how Vassar professors and students are teaching and learning during the pandemic.
Authors Distill Their Writing Advice to Just a Few Words
Amitava Kumar, Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair, wrote a New York Times article about authors who have provided him writing advice.
George Saunders and the Making of Lincoln in the Bardo
Amitava Kumar, Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair, interviewed Booker Prize-winning author George Saunders for Jaipur Lit Fest’s Brave New World.
An Excellent Grocery Store
Professor of English Amitava Kumar is interviewed on WAMC about his new book “Every Day I Write the Book,” featuring interviews with writers.
The Ruse of Fiction: An Interview with Amitava Kumar
Amitava Kumar and his latest book, Immigrant, Montana, were the subjects of a Public Books story.
Hindu College Awarded its Illustrious Alumni at the 17th edition of Distinguished Alumni Awards-2019
Amitava Kumar received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Hindu College, University of Delhi.
For author Amitava Kumar, a desire to find big ideas in small packages leads to a push for novellas
Amitava Kumar talked to the Boston Globe about some of his favorite books.
Grammar as Resistance in the Trump Era: A new book on language gently promotes better citizenship through copy editing
Medium article by Amitava Kumar.
Barack Obama lists his favorite books, songs and movies of 2018
The novel Immigrant, Montana, by Amitava Kumar, Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English, was recently included on President Obama’s "Best of 2018" list.
The Best Books of 2018
Immigrant, Montana, the latest novel by Amitava Kumar, Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair, was selected as one of the best books of 2018 by the New Yorker.
100 Notable Books of 2018: The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review
Immigrant, Montana, the latest novel by Amitava Kumar, Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair, was included in the New York Times “100 Notable Books of 2018” list.
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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