Indians Abroad

Amitav Ghosh

Famous As Writer
Born On 11 July 1956
Born In Kolkata, India
Nationality Indian

The list of finest contemporary Indian-English writers remain incomplete without the name of Amitav Ghosh, the 'author extraordinaire' of bestsellers like 'The Shadow Lines', 'The Glass Palace', 'The Hungry Tide' and 'Sea Of Poppies'. A noted novelist, an essayist and a nonfiction writer, Amitav Ghosh's standing in the realms of literature is truly unparalleled. Recipient of prestigious awards like the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Padma Shri and the Prix Medicis Etranger for excellence in writing, Amitav's feat in both fiction and nonfiction literature is laudable. His quintessential style of weaving riveting narratives with a bit of pedagogy is what lends his writings their unmistakable appeal. Although a Ph.D. in anthropology, Ghosh's love for history is well evident from his writings. Apart from authoring a slew of books, Ghosh has been actively involved in writing columns for magazines and has even taught in universities of Delhi, Columbia, Queens College and Harvard. He was conferred an honorary doctorate by Queens College, New York, and the Sorbonne, Paris. With so many feats and deeds to his name, it wouldn't be any exaggeration to say that Amitav Ghosh is indeed a living legend.

Early Life
Amitav Ghosh was born on 11 July 1956, in Kolkata in a middle class family. His father was a lieutenant colonel. Hence, he spent much of his childhood traveling around the globe, right from India, to Sri Lanka, to Iran, Egypt, United Kingdom and Bangladesh. Amitav received his early education from Doon School in Uttarakhand and later went to complete his graduation from Delhi University. He moved to England for higher studies and in the year 1982, he received his doctorate degree in social anthropology from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford.

Although a Ph.D. in social anthropology, Amitav followed his passion for writing by taking up a job in a print media company. His first job was for a local tabloid called the Indian Express. In 1986, he published his first book 'The Circle of Reason'. Over the years, Amitav wrote several books such as 'The Shadow Lines' (1988), 'In an Antique Land, (1992), 'The Calcutta Chromosome' (1995), 'Dancing in Cambodia' (1998), 'Countdown' (1999), 'The Glass Palace' (2000), 'The Imam and the Indian' (2002), 'The Hungry Tide' (2005), 'Sea Of Poppies'(2008), and 'River of Smoke' (2011) that won him great adulation. His books not only earned him the distinction of writer par excellence, but also won him great laurels for his unconventional themes. His books are loaded with indo-nostalgic rudiments accompanied with an interesting mix of his personal philosophy and strong post-colonialism themes. 'Sea of Poppies' won a nomination at the Booker's Prize and got much appreciation from his admirers for his brilliant plot and storyline.

Achievements and Awards
Amitav Ghosh has received several awards and recognition for his excellent contribution in the domain of literature and writing. Some of the awards he has won are Prix Medicis Etranger, France's top literary award, for the book 'The Circle of Reason', the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar for 'The Shadow Lines', Arthur C. Clarke Award for 'The Calcutta Chromosome', Frankfurt International e-Book Award for 'The Glass Palace' and Crossword Book Prize for 'The Hungry Tide'. Apart from these, he has also received other noted distinctions like Grinzane Cavour Award in Italy and the Padma Shri by the Indian government. His book 'Sea of Poppies' received the Crossword Book Award in 2009 and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Because of his distinguished contributions towards literature and his expertise towards teaching, Amitav was granted fellowship in Royal Society of Literature and at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. He also received Dan David Prize for his innovative interdisciplinary research across traditional bounds and prototypes.

Personal Life
Amitav is married to Deborah Baker, who is a writer and senior editor at the Little, Brown and Company, a publishing house located in the U.S.A. The couple has two children named Lila and Nayan. Amitav has residences in Brooklyn, Goa and Kolkata.

Time Line
1956: He was born on 11 July in Kolkata.
1997: 'The Calcutta Chromosome' won Arthur C. Clarke Award.
1999: Amitav began his teaching career at Queens College in New York.
2000: His award-winning book the 'The Glass Palace' was published.
2001: The Grand Prize was granted to him at the Frankfurt International e-Book Awards.
2006: 'The Hungry Tide' won the Hutch Crossword Book Award.
2007: Padma Shri was bestowed on him.
2008: 'Sea of Poppies' was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
2009: He was appointed fellowship at the Royal Society of Literature.
2011: 'River Of Smoke' was published.