Bharati Mukherjee

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Bharati Mukherjee
Speaking at the US Ambassador's residence in Israel, June 11, 2004
Speaking at the US Ambassador's residence in Israel, June 11, 2004
BornBharati Mukherjee
(1940-07-27)July 27, 1940
Calcutta, Bengal Province, British India (present-day Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
DiedJanuary 28, 2017(2017-01-28) (aged 76)
Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Professor
  • novelist
  • essayist
  • short story writer
  • author
  • fiction writer
  • non-fiction writer
GenreNovels, short stories, essays, travel literature, journalism.
SubjectsPost-colonial Anglophone fiction, Asian American fiction, autobiographical narratives, memoirs, American culture, immigration history, reformation and nationhood in the '90s, multiculturalism vs. mongrelization, fiction writing, autobiography writing, and the form and theory of fiction.
Notable worksJasmine
SpouseClark Blaise

Bharati Mukherjee (July 27, 1940 – January 28, 2017) was an Indian American-Canadian writer and professor emerita in the department of English at the University of California, Berkeley. She was the author of a number of novels and short story collections, as well as works of nonfiction.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Of Indian Hindu Bengali Brahmin origin, Mukherjee was born in present-day Kolkata, West Bengal, India during British rule. She later travelled with her parents to Europe after Independence, only returning to Calcutta in the early 1950s. There she attended the Loreto School. She received her B.A. from the University of Calcutta in 1959 as a student of Loreto College, and subsequently earned her M.A. from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in 1961.[2] She next travelled to the United States to study at the University of Iowa. She received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1963 and her PhD in 1969 from the department of Comparative Literature.[3]


After more than a decade living in Montreal and Toronto in Canada, Mukherjee and her husband, Clark Blaise returned to the United States. She wrote of the decision in "An Invisible Woman," published in a 1981 issue of Saturday Night. Mukherjee and Blaise co-authored Days and Nights in Calcutta (1977). They also wrote the 1987 work, The Sorrow and the Terror: The Haunting Legacy of the Air India Tragedy (Air India Flight 182).

In addition to writing many works of fiction and non-fiction, Mukherjee taught at McGill University, Skidmore College, Queens College, and City University of New York before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley.

In 1988 Mukherjee won the National Book Critics Circle Award- for her collection The Middleman and Other Stories.[4] In a 1989 interview with Ameena Meer, Mukherjee stated that she considered herself an American writer, and not an Indian expatriate writer.[5]

Mukherjee died due to complications of rheumatoid arthritis and takotsubo cardiomyopathy on January 28, 2017, in Manhattan at the age of 76.[6] She was survived by her husband and son. Her other son, Bart, predeceased her in 2015.[7]



Short story collections[edit]



Awards and honors[edit]

Related novels[edit]


  1. ^ "Holders of the Word: An Interview with Bharati Mukherjee". Tina Chen and S.X. Goudie, University of California, Berkeley]
  2. ^ "Arts and Culture: Bharati Mukherjee: Her Life and Works". PBS, Interview with Bill Moyers, February 5, 2003
  3. ^ "Clark Blaise and Bharati Mukherjee". Toronto Star, June 10, 2011
  4. ^ "Bharati Mukherjee Runs the West Coast Offense". Dave Weich, Powells Interview (April 2002)
  5. ^ Meer, Amanda Fall 1989. Retrieved May 20, 2013
  6. ^ "Novelist Bharati Mukherjee passes away". India Live Today. February 1, 2017. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Grimes, William (February 1, 2017). "Bharati Mukherjee, Writer of Immigrant Life, Dies at 76". The New York Times. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  8. ^ "Honorary Degrees | Whittier College". Retrieved January 28, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Abcarian, Richard and Marvin Klotz. "Bharati Mukherjee." In Literature: The Human Experience, 9th edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2006: 1581–1582.
  • Alter, Stephen and Wimal Dissanayake (ed.). "Nostalgia by Bharati Mukherjee." The Penguin Book of Modern Indian Short Stories. New Delhi, Middlesex, New York: Penguin Books, 1991: 28–40.
  • Kerns-Rustomji, Roshni. "Bharati Mukherjee." In The Heath Anthology of American Literature, 5th edition, Vol. E. Paul Lauter and Richard Yarborough (eds.). New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006: 2693–2694.
  • Majithia, Sheetal. "Of Foreigners and Fetishes: A Reading of Recent South Asian American Fiction", Samar 14: The South Asian American Generation (Fall/Winter 2001): 52–53.
  • New, W. H., ed. "Bharati Mukerjee." In Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002: 763–764.
  • Selvadurai, Shyam (ed.). "Bharati Mukherjee: The Management of Grief." Story-Wallah: A Celebration of South Asian Fiction. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2005: 91–108.

External links[edit]