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! (New York: The Feminist Press at CUNY, 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 idea of America through its 20th-century entanglements with her home country, runs in the current issue of the Australian literary magazine The Griffith Review. It’s entitled “Tales of the Sea.”
She is a critic, essayist and journalist. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, Prospect Magazine (in the UK), The Virginia Quarterly Review, Lapham’s Quarterly, Dissent, The Boston Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, The Washington Post and elsewhere, as well as in the essay anthologies Nonstop Metropolis and Living on the Edge of the World. She has won residencies and fellowships for creative nonfiction from the MacDowell Artists Colony, Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy, the British Library, the British Society of Authors, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Gaiutra was a daily newspaper staff writer for the first decade of her career. 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 newspaper reporter, she was awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard in 2007-2008. She earned a B.A. in English Literature with distinction from Yale University and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.
In Fall 2018, she will be a fellow at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. She is also currently a visiting scholar at the A/P/A Institute at New York University and a non-resident fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.