Saikat Majumdar is an Indian novelist and academic. He was educated in India and the United States, where he studied literature and creative writing. He is the author of two novels, Silverfish (2007) and The Firebird (2015), a book of literary criticism, Prose of the World (2013) and a book of nonfiction, College: Pathways of Possibility (2018). He taught in Canada and the US for several years and is now Professor of English and Creative Writing at Ashoka University.
Majumdar was born in Kolkata and grew up there. He read English literature in St. Xavier’s College and Jadavpur University and went on to study creative writing and literature in the US, receiving his doctorate in English from Rutgers University.
He taught English and world literature at McMaster University and Stanford University for several years before returning to Delhi to teach at Ashoka University and head its Creative Writing Department.
He was a Fellow at the Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College in 2017-18.
Majumdar’s first novel, Silverfish (2007) was set in 1980’s Calcutta and 19th century Bengal. His second novel, The Firebird (2015), tells the story of a young boy’s fear and fascination with his mother’s life as a stage actress, and his destructive relationship with the art form of theatre. The Firebird was a finalist for the Atta Galatta/Bangalore Literature Festival Fiction Prize in 2015 and the Mumbai Film Festival Word-to-Screen Market; it was also selected as one of the Telegraph’s Best Books of 2015. It appeared in the US in 2017 under the title Play House.
His third novel, The Scent of God, is a love story between two teenage boys in a monastic boarding school. It will be published in March 2019.
Majumdar is also the author of a book of literary criticism, Prose of the World: Modernism and the Banality of Empire (2013), which was a finalist for the Modernist Studies Association’s Best Book Award in 2014, and College: Pathways of Possibility (2018), a general nonfiction on liberal arts and sciences education in India. A collection of essays, The Critic as Amateur, co-edited with Aarthi Vadde from Duke University, is forthcoming in 2019.
Awards and Honors
Fellowship, the Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College, 2017-18.
Prose of the World a finalist for the Modernist Studies Association’s Best Book Award, 2014.
The Firebird shortlisted for the Atta Galatta/Bangalore Literature Festival Best Novel Award, 2015.
The Firebird (2015 & 2017); published as Play House (2017) in the US.
Nonfiction & Criticism
Prose of the World (2013 & 2015)
College: Pathways of Possibility (2018)
"Left in Polytheism" (Los Angeles Review Of Book, October 2, 2018)
“The lost art of public reading.” (The Hindu, June 9, 2018)
“Unlearning to write: on loving and hating creative writing workshops” (The Hindu, April 29, 2018)
“The Critic as Amateur” (New Literary History, Winter 2017)
“A brief history of the modern Indian university” (Times Higher Education, November 24, 2016)
“The illiberal arts,” (The Telegraph, September 29, 2016)
“Porda neme elo.” Anandabazar Patrika Robibasariyo. July 12, 2015.
“The provincial polymath: the curious cosmopolitanism of Nirad C. Chaudhuri,” (PMLA, May 2015)
“The ashes of pleasure: how the curtains came down on Calcutta’s professional theatre.” (Caravan, September 2014)
"Dreaming of a Hindu Left" (The Hindu, September 2018)
Talks, readings, lectures
Representations of Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University
Jaipur Literature Festival: Calcutta, Kolkata, Kalkatta
Literature as Sin: The UEA Seminar in Literary Activism
Writing Across Borders: The University of Chicago Symposium on Creative Writing
On Culture Wars: Bangalore Literature Festival
Bratya Basu, Anjan Dutt and Saikat Majumdar at Kolkata Literature Meet
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- "The Trapdoor Chronicles". https://www.outlookindia.com/. Retrieved 2018-07-25. External link in
- Majumdar, Saikat (2013). Prose of the World: Modernism and the Banality of Empire. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231527675. Search this book on
- "Back To Leonardo's Notebooks". https://www.outlookindia.com/. Retrieved 2018-07-25. External link in
- "The primal place". @businessline. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- Narayanan, Spatika (2018-03-18). "'Engage with the world'". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- University, Ashoka. "Ashoka Faculty Saikat Majumdar selected as Fellow at Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Wellesley College". Ashoka University. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Opinion | Paperback Pickings". www.telegraphindia.com. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- Roy, Sumana (2015-07-03). "Book Review: Saikat Majumdar's The Firebird". https://www.livemint.com/. Retrieved 2018-07-25. External link in
- "Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize - BLF 2015 - Bangalore Literature Festival". Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF). Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- "Fiction Book Review: Play House by Saikat Majumbar. Permanent, $28 (224p) ISBN 978-1-57962-497-2". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- "MSA - Previous Winners". msa.press.jhu.edu. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
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