Amitav
Award Winning Author & Global Thinker
Environmentalist & Climate Advocate
Travels from: New York, NY

“The effect of Ghosh’s archival research, far-flung travel reporting, deep thinking, and eloquent writing is at once enlightening and depressing. There are plenty of debates to be had with some of his analyses and conclusions, but I bet you will come away thinking he’s more right than he is wrong, and you will understand the climate catastrophe in a new way.” — Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria and is the author of The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide, and The Ibis Trilogy, consisting of Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke and Flood of Fire. The Great Derangement; Climate Change and the Unthinkable, a work of non-fiction, appeared in 2016. Gun Island, was released in September 2019. Ghosh’s first-ever book in verse, Jungle Nama: A Story of the Sundarban, was published February 2021. His latest book, The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis, was released in October, 2021.

The Circle of Reason was awarded France’s Prix Médicis in 1990, and The Shadow Lines won two prestigious Indian prizes the same year, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar. The Calcutta Chromosome won the Arthur C. Clarke award for 1997 and The Glass Palace won the International e-Book Award at the Frankfurt book fair in 2001In January 2005 The Hungry Tide was awarded the Crossword Book Prize, a major Indian award. His novel, Sea of Poppies (2008) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2008 and was awarded the Crossword Book Prize and the India Plaza Golden Quill Award.

Amitav Ghosh’s work has been translated into more than thirty languages and he has served on the juries of the Locarno and Venice film festivals. His essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York TimesThey have been anthologized under the titles The Imam and the Indian (Penguin Random House India) and Incendiary Circumstances (Houghton Mifflin, USA). The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, a work of non-fiction, was given the inaugural Utah Award for the Environmental Humanities in 2018.

Amitav Ghosh holds two Lifetime Achievement awards and four honorary doctorates. In 2007 he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest honors, by the President of India. In 2010 he was a joint winner, along with Margaret Atwood, of a Dan David prize, and 2011 he was awarded the Grand Prix of the Blue Metropolis festival in Montreal. In 2018 the Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary honor, was conferred on Amitav Ghosh. He was the first English-language writer to receive the award. In 2019 Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the most important global thinkers of the preceding decade.

Amitav’s Authors Unbound Profile: 

The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis

University of Chicago Press |
Nonfiction

In this ambitious successor to The Great Derangement, acclaimed writer Amitav Ghosh finds the origins of our contemporary climate crisis in Western colonialism’s violent exploitation of human life and the natural environment.

A powerful work of history, essay, testimony, and polemic, Amitav Ghosh’s new book traces our contemporary planetary crisis back to the discovery of the New World and the sea route to the Indian Ocean. The Nutmeg’s Curse argues that the dynamics of climate change today are rooted in a centuries-old geopolitical order constructed by Western colonialism. At the center of Ghosh’s narrative is the now-ubiquitous spice nutmeg. The history of the nutmeg is one of conquest and exploitation—of both human life and the natural environment. In Ghosh’s hands, the story of the nutmeg becomes a parable for our environmental crisis, revealing the ways human history has always been entangled with earthly materials such as spices, tea, sugarcane, opium, and fossil fuels. Our crisis, he shows, is ultimately the result of a mechanistic view of the earth, where nature exists only as a resource for humans to use for our own ends, rather than a force of its own, full of agency and meaning.

Writing against the backdrop of the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, Ghosh frames these historical stories in a way that connects our shared colonial histories with the deep inequality we see around us today. By interweaving discussions on everything from the global history of the oil trade to the migrant crisis and the animist spirituality of Indigenous communities around the world, The Nutmeg’s Curse offers a sharp critique of Western society and speaks to the profoundly remarkable ways in which human history is shaped by non-human forces.

Gun Island: A Novel

Farrar, Straus and Giroux |
Fiction

Named a Best Book of Fall by Vulture, Chicago Review of Books and Amazon

From the award-winning author of the bestselling epic Ibis trilogy comes a globetrotting, folkloric adventure novel about family and heritage

Bundook. Gun. A common word, but one that turns Deen Datta’s world upside down.

A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way. There is Piya, a fellow Bengali-American who sets his journey in motion; Tipu, an entrepreneurial young man who opens Deen’s eyes to the realities of growing up in today’s world; Rafi, with his desperate attempt to help someone in need; and Cinta, an old friend who provides the missing link in the story they are all a part of. It is a journey that will upend everything he thought he knew about himself, about the Bengali legends of his childhood, and about the world around him.

Amitav Ghosh‘s Gun Island is a beautifully realized novel that effortlessly spans space and time. It is the story of a world on the brink, of increasing displacement and unstoppable transition. But it is also a story of hope, of a man whose faith in the world and the future is restored by two remarkable women.

The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (Berlin Family Lectures)

University of Chicago Press |
Nonfiction

Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In his first major book of nonfiction since In an Antique Land, Ghosh examines our inability—at the level of literature, history, and politics—to grasp the scale and violence of climate change.

The extreme nature of today’s climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. This is particularly true of serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms and freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable for the novel; they are automatically consigned to other genres. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications; Ghosh shows that the history of the carbon economy is a tangled global story with many contradictory and counterintuitive elements.

Ghosh ends by suggesting that politics, much like literature, has become a matter of personal moral reckoning rather than an arena of collective action. But to limit fiction and politics to individual moral adventure comes at a great cost. The climate crisis asks us to imagine other forms of human existence—a task to which fiction, Ghosh argues, is the best suited of all cultural forms. His book serves as a great writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time.

Authors Unbound

Human Nature Versus Nature: The Climate Conflict

Authors Unbound

Can Non-Humans Speak? Other Beings in Myth, Literature and Ethnography

Authors Unbound

The Great Uprooting: Migration and Movement in the Age of Climate Change

Authors Unbound

Writing and Imagining History

Amitav Ghosh on ‘The Great Derangement’ – Live at #ISF2019

Amitav Ghosh: 2019 National Book Festival

Chicago Humanities Festival: Gun Island

“The World of Fact is Outrunning the World of Fiction” – NPR Author Interview

Honors, Awards & Recognition

International Bestseller
Utah Award In the Environmental Humanities
Jnanpith Award
France’s Prix Médicis
Sahitya Akademi Award
Crossword Book Prize
India Plaza Golden Quill Award

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