Gaiutra Bahadur is an American writer. She is the author of Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, a personal history of indenture shortlisted in 2014 for the Orwell Prize, the British literary prize for artful political writing. Her debut fiction, the short story “The Stained Veil,” appears in the anthology Go Home!, published by The Feminist Press in New York in 2018.
Gaiutra was born in Guyana and emigrated with her family to Jersey City, New Jersey when she was six years old. A lyric essay previewing her current book project, which explores the meaning of America through its 20th-century entanglements with her home country, first appeared in 2018 in the Australian literary magazine The Griffith Review. It’s entitled “Tales of the Sea.”
The recipient of literary residencies from the MacDowell Artists Colony and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy, she is the winner of a national award for prose from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for American feminist writers and is a two-time winner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Award for prose. Her work as an independent scholar in the humanities has been recognized and supported with fellowships from the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library, the Society of Authors in London and the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library.
For the first decade of her career, Gaiutra was a newspaper staff writer. She covered politics and government for the Austin American-Statesman and immigration, courts and the war in Iraq for the Philadelphia Inquirer. For her work as a daily newspaper reporter, she was awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard in 2007-2008. She is currently an independent critic, essayist and journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, The Nation, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Lapham’s Quarterly, Dissent, The Boston Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Ms. Magazine, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post as well as in the literary anthologies Nonstop Metropolis and Living on the Edge of the World. In the UK, she has written for Prospect Magazine, History Today, The Guardian and The Observer.
Gaiutra earned a B.A. (with honors in English Literature) from Yale University and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University. She has taught Caribbean literature at City College of New York and creative nonfiction at the University of Basel in Switzerland and, in Fall 2019, will join the faculty at Rutgers University-Newark as an assistant professor of journalism in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media.