AMITAV GHOSH

Amitav Ghosh is a pioneer of English literature in India,

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Amitav Ghosh is acclaimed in the literary world for his works on fiction, travel writing and journalism. His long list of accomplishment includes books like The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In an Antique Land and Dancing in Cambodia.



Amitav Ghosh, a pioneer of English literature in India, was born in Calcutta (Kolkata) in the year 1956.

His father was in the Indian army. It was mainly because of this reason that Amitav Ghosh has been raised and educated at the same time, in as different locations as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, Egypt, India and the United Kingdom. Amitav Ghosh did schooling from the Doon School, Dehra Dun. He completed his graduation from St. Stephens College, Delhi University. After leaving St. Stephen’s with a B.A. in History in 1976, he obtained an M.A. in Sociology from the Delhi University in 1978. He went to St. Edmund Hall, Oxford pursue Postgraduate work and in 1979 obtained a Diploma in social anthropology. He also spent some time at Tunis where he learnt Arabic. Amitav Ghosh was awarded his Oxford D. Phil. in Social Anthropology in 1981.

Amitav Ghosh is acclaimed in the literary world for his works on fiction, travel writing and journalism. His long list of accomplishment includes books like The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In an Antique Land and Dancing in Cambodia. His previous work, The Glass Palace, was an international bestseller that sold more than a half-million copies in Britain. The Hungry Tide has been sold for translation in twelve foreign countries and is also a bestseller abroad.

Among awards, Ghosh has won France’s Prix Medicis Etranger for The Circle of Reason (1986), the Sahitya Akademi Award for The Shadow Lines (1988), the Arthur C. Clarke Prize for science fiction for The Calcutta Chromosome (1996), the Pushcart Prize for his essay, “The March of the Novel through History: My Father’s Bookcase” and the Grand Prize for Fiction at the Frankfurt International e-Book Awards for The Glass Palace.

The fictions of Amitav Ghosh are marked by extreme themes that go side by side with post-colonialismIt can be added here that his topics are much more unique and personal. The appeal of Amitav’ s work lies in his ability to weave “Indo-nostalgic” elements into more serious, heavier themes. The Government of India conferred Amitav Ghosh with Padma Bhushan. He now divides his time between Harvard University, where he is a visiting professor, and his homes in India and Brooklyn, New York. He is planning to shift back to India.

Amitav Ghosh’s fictional world is one of restless narrative motion. His central figures are travelers and diasporic exiles: exemplars of “the migrant sensibility” that Salman Rushdie calls “one of the central themes of this century of displaced persons.” If in Rushdie’s metaphor “the past is a country from which we have all emigrated,” Ghosh’s conflation of time and space–and of distinct times and distant places–is even more extreme.
He treats national borders and conceptual boundaries as permeable fictions to be constantly transgressed. Through the multiple criss-crossings enabled by a free-ranging narrative, discrete binaries of order and category give way to a realm of mirror images and hybrid realities. Reason becomes passion, going away is also coming home, and the differences between us and them, now and then, here and there are disrupted by the itinerant maps of a roaming imagination.

Amitav Ghosh lives in New York with his wife, Deborah Baker, the author of In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding (1993) and a senior editor at Little Brown and Co., and his children Leela and Nayan.

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