Suketu Mehta is a well-known Indian-American author and journalist famous for his impeccable writing in ‘Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found,’ (2004) and ‘This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto’ (2019). His solid way of using literary language in his books has created his presence in the industry of writers.
Suketu Mehta was born in 1963 (age 63; as of 2023) in Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal, and was raised in Mumbai. Suketu moved to the United States with his family at the age of 14 and attended the Catholic High School, in Queens, New York, which was an all-boys school. Later he graduated from New York University, completing his Masters in Fine Arts, he also attended The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. After getting a few books published under his name, Suketu Mehta is serving as an associate professor of journalism at New York University.
Parents & Siblings
Suketu Mehta’s father Ramesh Mehta, was a native Gujarati who had moved out to Calcutta and then Bombay to Antwerp in Belgium and then in New York. Whereas, his mother Usha Mehta, was a Nairobi born who went to college in Bombay.
They owned a business and were diamond merchants, and wanted Suketu to follow in their footsteps but Suketu was always inclined towards being an established novelist. Suketu Mehta has two sisters. Suketu’s parents migrated to the US with their children in 1977.
Wife & Children
Suketu Mehta is married to a Chicago-born, Darshana Narayanan who works in the field of research. They were in a long relationship before they both decided to get married.
Suketu and Darshana have 2 children together who are both boys.
Suketu Mehta commenced his writing career with his first nonfiction book ‘Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found,’ which was published in 2004. The book was all about his own personal experiences about leaving Bombay and moving to New York, leaving behind all his dearest friends. This book highlighted the main aspects related to the financial, social, and infrastructural changes and advancements in Bombay over 21 years. Suketu Mehta’s debut writing was a great success on the literary front.
In 2019, Suketu Mehta published his second book, ‘This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto’. The text was all about the struggles and difficulties faced by immigrants worldwide. The book also focuses on the reasons and causes of the constant moving happening in current times as compared to the earlier period. Providing the most useful insights into the immigrant’s lives, this book has touched the lives of many.
Suketu Mehta has also written an essay for The New York Review of Books named ‘In the Violent Favelas of Brazil’ on August 15, 2013. The essay was subjected to the increasing violence in Brazil and how the political policies need to be amended. Suketu also shared some of his experiences when he was held at gunpoint.
Apart from his books, Suketu Mehta has also contributed to writing screenplays for a few famous movies. His first project was writing the screenplay for ‘The Goddess’, a Merchant-Ivory film that featured the famous American singer, Tina Turner. Even though the movie never got to be on the big screen but the screenplay was all about the feminine energy and the power of praying and the goddesses of the universe. The Indian Express
Suketu Mehta also wrote the screenplay for the second segment of the superhit American romantic-comedy movie, ‘New York: I Love You,’ which was released in 2008. The segment starred famous Bollywood actor Late. Irrfan Khan and Natalie Portman. The movie was all about different love stories under the Manhattan skyline. The movie was a blockbuster hit across the globe.
Suketu Mehta also wrote the famous Bollywood film, ‘Mission Kashmir,’ (2000), directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, starring Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, and many more famous actors. The movie revolved around the harsh times of terrorism and the sufferings post-war. This superhit movie received an amazing response across the world and was rated 4 out of 5 stars at the box office.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Suketu Mehta won The Kiriyama Prize for his book ‘Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found,’ in the year 2005.
- Suketu Mehta won the Whiting Writers’ Award in 1997
- Suketu Mehta has won The O. Henry Award for ‘Gare du Nord,’ a short story that was published in Harper’s Magazine, in the year 1997.
- Suketu Mehta won the Crossword Book Award for his book ‘Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found,’ in the category of English Non-Fiction in the year 2005.
- Suketu Mehta’s book ‘Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found,’ was the finalist at the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, The Guardian First Book Award, The Lettre Ulysses Prize, The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction (earlier known as Samuel Johnson Prize).
- Suketu Mehta was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 for his nonfiction work.
- Suketu Mehta was awarded the New York Foundation of the Arts fellowship for his work in fiction.
- Suketu Mehta’s work has been published in famous mediums like National Geographic, New York Times Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, NPR’s Fresh Air, and Time magazine.
- Suketu Mehta has been seen giving speeches and attending conferences related to worldly affairs.
- Suketu Mehta’s maternal grandfather had migrated to Kenya and then retired in London.
- Suketu Mehta, with his Gujarati parents, moved to Jackson Heights, Queens, New York in 1977.
- When Suketu Mehta was in his school in NY, he was kicked out of the class because of his accent.
- Suketu Mehta was constantly bullied and beaten up in school and faced racism quite frequently in his early times.
- Suketu Mehta now holds American Citizenship.
- Suketu Mehta has been often seen drinking alcohol with his friends.
- Suketu Mehta used to live in the East Village and he used to pay the rent with credit cards.
- Suketu Mehta also lived in a Brooklyn studio rife with bed bugs inside.
- Suketu Mehta is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with an early-stage of Malignant tumour.
- When Suketu Mehta was in school and was getting bullied, he used to write letters to his close friends back in Bombay, explaining his sadness, loneliness, and isolation.
- One day while living in New York, Suketu Mehta’s family found “Hate” painted on their car.
- Suketu Mehta is working on his new book ‘Tails From The Tail End: My Cancer Diary Archives,’ which is solely subjected to his journey fighting cancer.
- While doing the research on his book ‘Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found,’ Suketu Mehta and his family spent 2 years in Bombay.
- Suketu Mehta interviewed many people like gangsters, policemen, Bollywood actors, and poor people while writing his book ‘Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found.’