February 7, 2023

Jeet Thayil (India / writes in English) 1959

Jeet Thayil (India/writes in English)



Born in Kerala, India in 1959 and educated at the Island School and in Hong Kong and Wilson College in Mumbai. Thayil is a noted Indian poet writing in English.

      His first major collection of poems, a volume he shared with the poet Vijay Nambisan, was Gemini-2 published in 1992. Apocalypso followed in 1997. His collection, English, appeared in 2004 and These Errors Are Correct in 2008.

   Fellow poet Vijay Seshadri has written of Thayil's work: "He seems to be one of the most contemporary writers I know, and contemporary precisely because he has such command of the poetic and historical past, and because his invented language has such depth, archaeological richness, and reality."         


     Thayil has also edited two volumes of short stories, Vox: New Indian Fiction (1996) and Vox 2: Seven Stories (1997). More recently he has published several works of his own fiction, including Narcopolis (2012), The Book of Chocolate Saints (2017), Low (2020), and Names of Women (2021). 
     As a journalist, he has written for Asiaweek, the South China Morning Post, and India Abroad. He was literary editor of the Mumbai magazine Gentleman from 1995 to 1998. In 2006 he edited the book Divided Time: India and the End of Diaspora for Routledge.
     Most recently, Thayil edited a collection of contemporary Indian Poets for Bloodaxe (2008) and a collection of 56 Indian Poets for Fulcrum press (2005). He has also been active in the music scene as a founding member of the Bangalore-based fusion group, the Chronic Blues Band.

     Thayil earned his MFA in poetry and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and now lives in Bangalore. He has received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation. 




[with Vijay Nambisan] Gemini I (New Delhi: Viking Penguin, 1992); Apocalypso (London: Aark Arts, 1997); selected poems in Ranjit Hoskoté, ed. Reasons for Belonging: Fourteen Contemporary Indian Poets (New Delhi: Viking, 2002); English (New Delhi: Penguin and New York: Rattapallax, 2004); These Errors Are Correct (Delhi: East West and Westland Books, 2008); Collected Poems (New Delhi: Aleph Book Company)


For a selection of his poems, go here:


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