Gaiutra Bahadur is a Guyanese-American writer. She is the author of Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, a narrative history of indenture which was shortlisted in 2014 for the Orwell Prize, the British literary prize for political writing that is artful. Her fiction debut, the short story “The Stained Veil,” is forthcoming in the anthology Go Home! (New York: The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2018) and The Red Hen Anthology of Contemporary Indian Writing (Pasadena, California: Red Hen Press, 2019). 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.
Bahadur’s essays, reportage and literary criticism have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Lapham’s Quarterly, Ms., Dissent, Foreign Policy, History Today, The Guardian and the Washington Post, among other publications. She was a daily newspaper staff writer for a decade, covering politics 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.
Bahadur, who earned a B.A. in English Literature with distinction from Yale University and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University, was six when her family emigrated to the United States. She writes often about literature, gender, politics and migration.
Her nonfiction book for middle-school children – Family Ties, published by Scholastic in 2012 as part of its On the Record series by journalists – explores how President Obama and Amy Tan each negotiated relationships with difficult parents and difficult homelands through the process of writing about them. And her essay about Caribbean women in New York, “Of Islands and Other Mothers,” appears in the literary atlas Nonstop Metropolis (University of California Press, 2016).
Coolie Woman won the 2014 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Prize, awarded by scholars of the Caribbean to the best book about the Caribbean published in the previous three years. The book was also long-listed for the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature in 2014 and was a finalist for Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies writing prize in 2015.