Gaiutra Bahadur is an essayist, critic and journalist who writes frequently about literature, history, memory, migration, and gender. 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. Gaiutra was born in Guyana and emigrated as a child to Jersey City, New Jersey, where she currently lives. She teaches writing and journalism as an associate professor in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at Rutgers University in Newark.
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 and the Australian lit magazine The Griffith Review. In the UK, her work has appeared in Prospect Magazine, History Today, The Guardian and The Observer.
She is contributor to Nonstop Metropolis, Rebecca Solnit’s literary atlas of New York City, and to Living on the Edge of the World, Simon & Schuster’s collection of creative writing about New Jersey. Gaiutra has also published short fiction, the short story “The Stained Veil,” which appears in Go Home!, an anthology of Asian American writing published by The Feminist Press in New York in 2018.
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. Gaiutra earned a B.A. (with honors in English Literature) from Yale University and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.