Upamanyu Chatterjee
Patna, Bihar, India
Alma materSt. Xavier's School, Delhi, St. Stephen's College, Delhi

Upamanyu Chatterjee (born 1959) is an author and a retired Indian civil servant. His works include the novel English, August: An Indian story, The Last Burden, The Mammaries of the Welfare State and Weight Loss. In 2008, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his contribution to literature.[1]


Chatterjee was born in 1959[2] in Patna, Bihar.[3][1] He attended Delhi University, graduated from St. Stephens College, and became a 1983 batch Indian Administrative Service officer.[1][3] He became a Writer in Residence at the University of Kent in 1990. He became a Director in the Ministry of Human Resource Development in India in 1998.[3]

Major works

Chatterjee has written and published short stories since the 1980s, including stories republished in the 2019 collection The Assassination of Indira Gandhi.[4][5][6]

His 1988 novel, English, August : An Indian story was adapted into the film English, August.[3] His novel The Last Burden was published in 1993.[5] A sequel to English, August, The Mammaries of the Welfare State was published in 2000. His fourth novel, Weight Loss, a dark comedy, was published in 2006.[5] His fifth novel Way To Go, a sequel to The Last Burden, was published in 2010[5] and longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize.[7] In 2014, he published Fairy Tales at Fifty.[8][9] Indrapramit Das writes in a review for The Hindu Business Line, "Like a David Lynch film set in India, Upamanyu Chatterjee’s latest book is a monstrous fairytale that respects the darkness of the real world."[10] In 2018, his novella The Revenge of the Non-vegetarian was published.[11][12] Pratik Kanjilal writes in a review for The Indian Express, "In a way, it is a back story to his first novel".[13] Uddalak Mukherjee writes in a review for The Telegraph, "Writers cannot be faulted for turning towards their most successful work for inspiration after dishing out a few ordinary books", and "The result [...] is a pacy, tautly-written narrative."[14]

In The Hindu, Anjana Sharma equates Upamanyu's vision of humanity with W.B. Yeats. She writes, "Eighty years apart, cultures, civilisations, even craft and temperament apart, Yeats and Chatterjee share an identical vision of a de-centered, de-natured world."[15] Mukul Dikshit opines that Chatterjee has, for the first time, focused on a "new class" of Westernised urban Indians who were hitherto ignored in the regional as well as the English fiction of India.[citation needed]


In 2009, he was awarded Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of his "exemplary contribution to contemporary literature"[16] In 2004, he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for The Mammaries of the Welfare State.[17] The novel Way To Go was shortlisted for The Hindu Best Fiction Award in 2010.


Name Publisher ISBN Publishing date Notes
English, August : An Indian story Faber & Faber,

Rupa & Co,

NYRB Classics

Hardback: ISBN 0-571-15101-9

Paperback: ISBN 0-14-027811-7

Reprint: ISBN 1-59017-179-9

First published June 1988.

Reprint by NYRB Classics 2006

Hailed as the definitive urban Indian coming-of-age novel
The Last Burden Faber & Faber Hardback: ISBN 0-571-16825-6 16 August 1993
The Mammaries of the Welfare State Viking ISBN 0-670-87934-7 2000 Sequel to English August
Weight Loss Penguin Books India Paperback: ISBN 0-670-05862-9 28 February 2006
Way to Go Penguin Books India Hardback: ISBN 978-0-670-08352-7 15 February 2011 Sequel to The Last Burden

See also


  1. ^ a b c Sharma, Rupinder (21 March 2010). "A new chapter". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  2. ^ Dirda, Michael (23 April 2006). "ENGLISH, AUGUST". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Library of Congress New Delhi Office. "Upamanyu Chatterjee, 1959–". The South Asian Literary Recordings Project. US Library of Congress.
  4. ^ Sipahimalani, Sanjay (12 May 2019). "A collection of Upamanyu Chatterjee's short stories embodies his signature writing against the grain". Scroll.in. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Bhattacharya, Soumya (8 June 2019). "Review: The Assassination of Indira Gandhi; The Collected Stories of Upamanyu Chatterjee". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  6. ^ Banerjie, Indranil (28 July 2019). "Book Review: A master at the height of his craft presents curious bouquet of styles". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  7. ^ Kehe, Marjorie (14 December 2010). "10 Asian authors you need to know: the Man Asian Literary Prize longlist". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  8. ^ Kanjilal, Pratik (7 December 2014). "In Fairy tales at Fifty, Upamanyu Chatterjee serves up characters who are cruel and vile". The Indian Express. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  9. ^ Kuruvilla, Elizabeth (13 December 2014). "Book Review: Fairy Tales at Fifty". Mint. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  10. ^ Das, Indrapramit (24 January 2018). "An anti-celebration". Business Line. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  11. ^ Gupta, Trisha (4 August 2018). "Upamanyu Chatterjee's new novel is a minimalist study of revenge (and features Agastya Sen's father)". Scroll.in. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  12. ^ Bhardwaj, Deeksha (29 July 2018). "Upamanyu Chatterjee's novella turns the lynching narrative into one of cold-blooded murder". ThePrint. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  13. ^ Kanjilal, Pratik (16 June 2018). "A Meaty Issue". The Indian Express. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  14. ^ Mukherjee, Uddalak (10 August 2018). "The Revenge of the Non-Vegetarian resurrects Upamanyu Chatterjee". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  15. ^ Sharma, Anjana. "What others have to say about Upamanyu Chatterjee". Upamanyu Chatterjee at the complete review. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  16. ^ "Upamanyu Chatterjee Gets French Award Officier Des Arts Et Des Lettres". Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  17. ^ UNI (22 December 2004). "Sahitya Akademi award winners". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 30 December 2004. Retrieved 26 June 2011.