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Amitava Kumar, photo by Neeraj PriyadarshiAMITAVA KUMAR


NYS Writers Institute, March 23, 2011
4:15 p.m. Reading | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Amitava Kumar, India-born writer and journalist, will read from his new book, A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb (2010), an examination of the cultural dimensions of the global war on terror,on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. The event is sponsored by the UAlbany English Department and the New York State Writers Institute, and is free and open to the public.

A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny BombAmitava Kumar,
novelist, poet and journalist, is the author most recently of A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb (2010), a nonfiction meditation on the global war on terror, and its peculiar impact on art, culture and literature. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said, “An arresting and heartrending work of public protest and valuable social analysis, this work contributes forcefully to a subtle, human-scaled accounting of 21st century geopolitics.” Writing in the Christian Science Monitor, Terry Hong said, “Kumar is an excellent storyteller. He’s also immensely convincing. Drawing on his vast, voracious knowledge of literature, film, television, and breaking headlines, Kumar makes a case that post-9/11 fear has created a not-so-brave new world of bullies and fools.” The book was also featured as a Publishers Weekly Staff Pick in its 2010 summer reading issue.

Kumar’s most recent novel is Nobody Does the Right Thing (2010), the story of two cousins from a rural village in India, one an idealistic journalist, the other a convicted pornographer, who are both aspiring screenwriters. Writing in Mint, a publication of the Indian edition of the Wall Street Journal, Chandrahas Choudhury said, “Kumar really knows how to write a rich, satisfying scene…. [His] eye for the telling detail is very sharp.”

Nobody Does the Right ThingKumar ’s previous works include the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” book, Husband of a Fanatic (2005), an account of his marriage as an India-born Hindu to a Pakistani Muslim wife, and a larger discussion of Hindu-Muslim relations. The Newsweek reviewer said, “Kumar’s soul-searching is unsparing even of his own liberal reactions as a post-independence ‘secular’ Indian raised to question all religiosity. His finely nuanced essay on hate is a must-read for anyone concerned with the Other.”

Kumar is also the author of Bombay-London-New York (2002), a study of India’s literary diaspora that was named a New Statesman (UK) “Book of the Year.” The reviewer for the Independent (UK) said, “Kumar’s prose is always elegant, his ideas always pulsate with energy and his humanity shines through every page. Bombay-London-New York is a riveting book. Kumar’s passion for his subject matter is infectious. But he is doing much more than simply providing illuminating insights into Indian cultural life in the West. He is showing a way forward for cultural criticism, with the critic as an insightful storyteller.”

Kumar was born in Ara in India’s Bihar State and grew up in the nearby town of Patna. He currently serves as professor of English at Vassar College.

For additional information, contact UAlbany’s English Department at 518-442-4055.