Suketu Mehta is the New York-based author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, which won the Kiriyama Prize and the Hutch Crossword Award, and was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, the Lettre Ulysses Prize, the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award. He has won the Whiting Writers’ Award, the O. Henry Prize, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for his fiction. Mehta’s work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Granta, Harper’s Magazine, Time, and Newsweek, and has been featured on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ and ‘All Things Considered.’ His new book, This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto, will be published by Farrar, Straus, Giroux in May 2019.  He is now available for lectures on this timely and critical subject.

THIS LAND IS OUR LAND: An Immigrant's Manifesto
By Suketu Mehta

A timely argument for why the United States and the West would benefit from accepting more immigrants

There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and controversy than immigration. But do we really understand it? In This Land Is Our Land, the renowned author Suketu Mehta attacks the issue head-on. Drawing on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager growing up in New York City and on years of reporting around the world, Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. As he explains, the West is being destroyed not by immigrants but by the fear of immigrants. Mehta juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of laborers, nannies, and others, from Dubai to Queens, and explains why more people are on the move today than ever before. As civil strife and climate change reshape large parts of the planet, it is little surprise that borders have become so porous. But Mehta also stresses the destructive legacies of colonialism and global inequality on large swaths of the world: When today’s immigrants are asked, “Why are you here?” they can justly respond, “We are here because you were there.” And now that they are here, as Mehta demonstrates, immigrants bring great benefits, enabling countries and communities to flourish. Impassioned, rigorous, and richly stocked with memorable stories and characters, This Land Is Our Land is a timely and necessary intervention, and a literary polemic of the highest order. 

Mehta is an Associate Professor of Journalism at New York University. He is currently working on a nonfiction book about immigrants in contemporary New York, for which he was awarded a 2007 Guggenheim fellowship. He has also written original screenplays for films, including ‘New York, I Love You’, and a novella “What is Remembered” [2016]. Mehta was born in Calcutta and raised in Bombay and New York. He is a graduate of New York University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Maximum City: Bombay Lost And Found

A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs, following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse, opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood, and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks.

As each individual story unfolds, Mehta also recounts his own efforts to make a home in Bombay after more than twenty years abroad. Candid, impassioned, funny, and heartrending, Maximum City is a revelation of an ancient and ever-changing world.

This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto

This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto
By Suketu Mehta

A timely argument for why the United States and the West would benefit from accepting more immigrants.

There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and controversy than immigration. But do we really understand it? In This Land Is Our Land, the renowned author Suketu Mehta attacks the issue head-on. Drawing on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager growing up in New York City and on years of reporting around the world, Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. As he explains, the West is being destroyed not by immigrants but by the fear of immigrants. Mehta juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of laborers, nannies, and others, from Dubai to Queens, and explains why more people are on the move today than ever before. As civil strife and climate change reshape large parts of the planet, it is little surprise that borders have become so porous. But Mehta also stresses the destructive legacies of colonialism and global inequality on large swaths of the world: When today’s immigrants are asked, “Why are you here?” they can justly respond, “We are here because you were there.” And now that they are here, as Mehta demonstrates, immigrants bring great benefits, enabling countries and communities to flourish. Impassioned, rigorous, and richly stocked with memorable stories and characters, This Land Is Our Land is a timely and necessary intervention, and a literary polemic of the highest order.

In Conversation with Suketu Mehta: Turning Immigrants into New Yorkers

The city has become an obsession for Suketu Mehta, internationally acclaimed for his book Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

PRAISE FOR MAXIMUM CITY: Bombay Lost and Found

Bombay native Mehta fills his kaleidoscopic portrait of “the biggest, fastest, richest city in India” with captivating moments of danger and dismay. Returning to Bombay (now known as Mumbai) from New York after a 21-year absence, Mehta is depressed by his beloved city’s transformation, now swelled to 18 million and choked by pollution. Investigating the city’s bloody 1992-1993 riots, he meets Hindus who massacred Muslims, and their leader, the notorious Godfather-like founder of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, Bal Thackeray, “the one man most directly responsible for ruining the city I grew up in.” Daring to explore further the violent world of warring Hindu and Muslim gangs, Mehta travels into the city’s labyrinthine criminal underworld with tough top cop Ajay Lal, developing an uneasy familiarity with hit men who display no remorse for their crimes. Mehta likewise deploys a gritty documentary style when he investigates Bombay’s sex industry, profiling an alluring, doomed dancing girl and a cross-dressing male dancer who leads a strange double life. Mehta includes so-called “Bollywood” in his sweeping account of Bombay’s subcultures: he hilariously recounts, in diary style, day-to-day life on the set among the aging male stars of the action movie Mission Kashmir. Mehta, winner of a Whiting Award and an O. Henry Prize, is a gifted stylist. His sophisticated voice conveys postmodern Bombay with a carefully calibrated balance of wit and outrage, harking back to such great Victorian urban chroniclers as Dickens and Mayhew while introducing the reader to much that is truly new and strange. 
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW)
“Stunning. . . . A powerful, arresting work. . . . Marvelous.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review“Narrative reporting at its finest, probably the best work of nonfiction to come out of India in recent years. . . . Mehta succeeds so brilliantly in taking the pulse of this riotous urban jungle.”
—THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
As each individual story unfolds, Mehta also recounts his own efforts to make a home in Bombay after more than twenty years abroad. Candid, impassioned, funny, and heartrending, Maximum City is a revelation of an ancient and ever-changing world. “What Dickens did for London, what Joseph Mitchell did for New York City, Suketu Mehta has done for Bombay. . . . A candid, extensive, and wholly entertaining portrait.”
—SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE“
The ultimate insider’s view of Bombay, a roiling and vigorous account that delivers on a seemingly impossible challenge: how to limn the diversity and sprawl of such a place in a single book.”
—THE SEATTLE TIMES

Articles:

This Land is Their Land:

Article on migrants and immigration in America in Foreign Policy, September/October 2017 issue.

Go East, Young American

Opinion piece on emigration from America in the New York Times’ Sunday Review, April 21, 2017.

Why Japan is big on the little things

Feature on the detail-oriented beauty of Japan’s culture in Conde Nast Traveller India, March 3, 2017

Queens of the Stoned Age

Feature story about NYC’s most fabulous weed delivery ring in GQ, February 14, 2017

Can a Bombay Strongman Explain Trump?

Op-Ed about understanding Donald Trump through understanding Bal Keshav Thackeray, “who rode to power on a wave of outrageous stories, bluster, lies, bigotry and showmanship” in the New York Times, January 6, 2017

Beyond the maximum: cities may be booming, but who’s invited to the party?

Article on who’s included and who’s excluded in the building of a great city for The Guardian, November 30, 2015

City of our blighted future

Article on contemporary Mumbai for India Today, October 28, 2015

The wild and explosive TnT

Travel article on Trinidad and Tobago, Condé Nast Traveller International(originally appeared in October-November issue of Condé Nast Traveller India), August 3, 2015

Papad: At the short end of Bombay’s boom-to-bust cycle

Essay in The Common, May 7, 2015

Nina

Essay in Harper’s Magazine, December 2014 issue

Kannada writer Ananthamurthy loved whiskey and a good argument

Tribute to U. R. Ananthamurthy, Scroll.in, Aug 23, 2014

Pearls of Regret: ‘Bombay Stories’ by Saadat Hasan Manto

Book Review in the Sunday Book Review, The New York Times, May 8, 2014

What Are Parents Being Pushy About?

Op-Ed on parents, teaching and schooling in America for The New York Times, February 10, 2014

The ‘Tiger Mom’ Superiority Complex

Essay on the “new racism” for Time Magazine, February 3, 2014

In the Violent Favelas of Brazil

Essay on the reformation of Brazilian favelas for The New York Review of Books, August 15, 2013

Life in the Cellar

Article on illegal basements in New York City for The Nation, April 18, 2013

India’s Speech Impediments

Op-Ed piece on freedom of speech in India for The New York Times, February 5, 2013

India’s War on Its Women

Op-Ed piece on rape crisis in New Delhi for Time Magazine, January 14, 2013

Why Money Can’t Buy an Election

Essay on U.S. presidential election for India Today, November 9, 2012

Sea and be seen

Article on Trinidad and Tobago for Condé Nast Traveller, October/November, 2012

Yoga, American Style

Article on yoga for The New York Times, January 12, 2012

The Outsider

Exclusive interview with Raj Rajaratnam for Newsweek, October 23, 2011

The Asylum Seeker

Article about asylum-seekers embellishing their stories in The New Yorker, August, 2011

The City: New York

Essay on immigration in New York for Newsweek, May 15, 2011

A Cloud Still Hangs Over Bhopal

Op-Ed piece on the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster for The New York Times, December 2, 2009

What They Hate About Mumbai

Op-Ed piece on Mumbai terror attacks for The New York Times, November 28, 2008

The terrorists attacked my city because of its wealth

Essay on Mumbai terror attacks for The Guardian, November 27, 2008

The New Faces of America

Article on immigrant networks for Forbes, May 7, 2007

A Big Stretch

Op-Ed piece on yoga for The New York Times, May 7, 2007

Sonia Gandhi

Profile for the Time 100, May 3, 2007

Lush Life

Article on the Caribbean for Condé Nast Traveler, July 2006

So the Jains, They Have a Problem with Beef in the School Lunches? Who They Gonna Call?

Article about immigrant power broker Alex Martins for The New York Times, October 2, 2005

The Great Awakening

Article about Brooklyn for The New York Times, June 19, 2005

Welcome to Bollywood

Article about Bollywood for National Geographic, February 2005

‘Now We Hate Seeing This Sea’

Commentary on the tsunami disaster for The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2004

Future on display in ‘Maximum City’

Op-Ed on India for The Baltimore Sun, November 28, 2004

Bollywood Confidential

Essay on Bollywood for The New York Times Magazine, November 14, 2004

Peace in Paradise

Essay on Sri Lanka for Condé Nast Traveler, July 2004

A Fatal Love A talk on Partition for the Center for the Study of Developing Societies, January 2004

The Meltingest Pot

Article about the Calloway Château in Queens for The New York Times Magazine, October 05, 2003

Runaway:a chronicle of metropolitan transience

Essay on a Bombay runaway for Seminar, August, 2003

Stuck in the Middle in a Very High Place

Review of Samrat Upadhyay’s The Guru of Love for The New York Times Book Review, January 12, 2003

Big Apple tastes better in the dark

Essay on the Great New York Blackout of 2003 for Indian Express, August 16, 2003

Gangsters in Exile

Article on Bombay gangsters for Time Magazine, April 29, 2002


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