Hari Kunzru

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Hari Kunzru
Hari Kunzru B283441 (cropped2).jpg
BornHari Mohan Nath Kunzru
1969 (age 53–54)
London, England
OccupationAuthor, journalist
EducationBA in English Language and Literature
MA in Philosophy and Literature
Alma materWadham College, Oxford
Warwick University
Notable worksGods without Men
White Tears
Red Pill
SpouseKatie Kitamura

Hari Mohan Nath Kunzru (born 1969) is a British novelist and journalist. He is the author of the novels The Impressionist, Transmission, My Revolutions, Gods Without Men, White Tears[2] and Red Pill. His work has been translated into twenty languages.

Early life and education[edit]

Kunzru was born in London to an Indian Kashmiri Pandit father and a British mother.[3] He grew up in Essex and educated at Bancroft's School. He studied English at Wadham College, Oxford, then gained an MA in Philosophy and Literature from University of Warwick. In his teens, Kunzru decided that he did not believe in formal religion or God, and is "opposed to how religion is used to police people."[3]


From 1995 to 1997 he worked on Wired UK. Since 1998, he has worked as a travel journalist, writing for such newspapers as The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph, was travel correspondent for Time Out magazine, and worked as a TV presenter interviewing artists for the Sky TV electronic arts programme The Lounge. From 1999–2004 he was also music editor of Wallpaper* magazine and since 1995 he has been a contributing editor to Mute, the culture and technology magazine. His first novel, The Impressionist (2003), had a £1 million-plus advance and was well received critically with excellent sales.[2] His second novel, Transmission, was published in the summer of 2004. In 2005 he published the short story collection Noise. His third novel, My Revolutions, was published in August 2007. His fourth novel, Gods Without Men, was released in August 2011.[2] Set in the American south-west, it is a fractured story about multiple characters across time. It has been compared to David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas.[2]

In 2004 the "supersonic supernatural drama" Sound Mirrors was dramatised as part of the BBC Radio 3 drama strand, The Wire. It was a collaboration between Kunzru and DJ producers, Coldcut.

Although he was also awarded The John Llewellyn Rhys prize for writers under 35, the second oldest literary prize in the UK, he turned it down on the grounds that it was backed by the Mail on Sunday whose "hostility towards black and Asian people" he felt was unacceptable. In a statement read out on his behalf, he stated, "As the child of an immigrant, I am only too aware of the poisonous effect of the Mail's editorial line ... The atmosphere of prejudice it fosters translates into violence, and I have no wish to profit from it." He further went on to recommend that the award money be donated to the charity Refugee Council.

He is Deputy President of English PEN.

In 2009, he donated the short story "Kaltes klares Wasser" to Oxfam's Ox-Tales project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Kunzru's story was published in the Water collection.[4]

In 2012 at the Jaipur Literature Festival[5] he, along with three other authors, Ruchir Joshi, Jeet Thayil and Amitava Kumar, risked arrest by reading excerpts from Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, which remains unpublished in India due to fear of controversy. Kunzru later wrote, "Our intention was not to offend anyone's religious sensibilities, but to give a voice to a writer who had been silenced by a death threat."[6] The reading drew sharp criticism from Muslim groups as being a deliberately provocative move to gain publicity for the four authors. Kunzru himself admitted in an interview that he was asked to leave by the festival organizers as his presence was likely to "inflame an already volatile situation."[7]

In 2016, Kunzru visited Israel, as part of a project by the "Breaking the Silence" organization, to write an article for a book on the Israeli occupation, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.[8][9] The book was edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, and was published under the title "Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation", in June 2017.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Kunzru is married to novelist Katie Kitamura, and the couple have two children.[11] Kunzru is fascinated by UFOs and as a youngster often imagined a close-encounter type experience with them.[12]


  • 1999: The Observer Young Travel Writer of the Year
  • 2002: Betty Trask Award, The Impressionist
  • 2003: Somerset Maugham Award, The Impressionist
  • 2003: Granta "Best of Young British Novelists" (one of twenty)
  • 2005: New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Transmission
  • 2005: Lire "50 écrivains pour demain"
  • 2008: New York Public Library Fellow, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers
  • 2014: Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
  • 2016: Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin


  • 2002: The Impressionist. London: Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 9780241141694, OCLC 953648874
  • 2004: Transmission. London: Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 9780141020952, OCLC 485832981
  • 2005: Noise. London: Penguin. ISBN 9780141023106, OCLC 835475787
  • 2007: My Revolutions. London: Penguin. OCLC 920237941
  • 2011: Gods Without Men. London: Penguin. ISBN 9780307946973, OCLC 864345036
  • 2013: Memory Palace. London: V&A
  • 2014: Twice Upon a Time: Listening to New York. New York: Atavist
  • 2017: White Tears, New York: Knopf ISBN 9781101973219, OCLC 989962274
  • 2020: Red Pill, New York: Knopf ISBN 9780451493712


  1. ^ Kunzru-Kitamura children
  2. ^ a b c d David Robinson. "Interview: Hari Kunzru, author", scotsman.com, 29 July 2011
  3. ^ a b Romig, Rollo (13 March 2012). "Staring into the Void with Hari Kunzru". The New Yorker. New York City. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  4. ^ Oxfam: Ox-Tales Archived 18 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Singh, Akhilesh Kumar; Chowdhury, Shreya Roy (23 January 2012). "Salman Rushdie shadow on Jaipur Literature Festival: 4 authors who read from 'The Satanic Verses' sent packing". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  6. ^ Kunzru, Hari (22 January 2012). "Why I quoted from The Satanic Verses". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  7. ^ Salman Rushdie shadow on Jaipur Literature Festival: 4 authors who read from 'The Satanic Verses' sent packing, Times of India, Jan 23, 2012
  8. ^ Zeveloff, Naomi; The Forward (18 April 2016). "Renowned Authors Learn About Occupation Firsthand in Breaking the Silence Tour". Haaretz.
  9. ^ Cain, Sian (17 February 2016). "Leading authors to write about visiting Israel and the occupied territories". The Guardian.
  10. ^ "Kingdom of Olives and Ash Writers Confront the Occupation By Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman". Retrieved 18 August 2022.
  11. ^ Silverman, Jacob (9 March 2012). "Author Hari Kunzru on the culture wars, meth, and his ambitious new novel, Gods Without Men". Chelsea, United States. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  12. ^ Hodgekinson, Ted (10 March 2012). "Interview: Hari Kunzru". granta.com. Retrieved 21 July 2012.

External links[edit]