- Created: 13 February 2014
Hari Kunzru was born in London in 1969. He obtained an MA in Philosophy from Warwick University in 1995 and BA English Language and Literature from Oxford University in 1991. Hari Kunzru’s first novel The Impressionist was published in April 2002 and translated into eighteen languages. It was shortlisted for the Whitbread first novel prize, the Guardian fiction prize, the British Book Award, the Saroyan prize and the LA Times Award for First Fiction. It won the Betty Trask prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Pendleton May first novel award and the John Llewellyn Rhys prize, which he declined, due to the presence of the Mail on Sunday newspaper as sponsor. It was named one of (US) Publishers Weekly’s best novels of 2002 and one of New York Public Library’s 2002 Books to Remember. Mira Nair, director of Monsoon Wedding and Salaam Bombay, is developing a film adaptation. His second novel Transmission was published in June 2004. It was named one of the New York Times’ notable books of the year and one of Granta Magazine’s Best of Young British Novelists for 2003.
Kunzru has spoken at literary festivals and events around the world, and appeared on and in various media, notably in the UK as a regular guest on BBC Newsnight Review and Start the Week. In 2004 he sat on the judging panels for the Guardian First Book Award, the National Design Award and the Index on Censorship Human Rights Awards and was a member of Channel 4’s shadow jury for the Turner Prize. In 2004 he was elected onto the executive committee of English PEN, the writers organisation and also sits on the Writers in Prison committee.
Kunzru has contributed to a number of UK and international publications, writing about technology, cultural change, electronic music and art. He was music editor of Wallpaper* magazine and has written for (among others) Time Out, The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, Interview and The London Review of Books. In March 2004 his radio play Sound Mirrors, a collaboration with musicians Coldcut, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In his varied career he has interviewed VS Naipaul for BBC4, which was the Nobel Laureate’s first television interview for twenty years. He presented The Great Arc, a BBC4 television documentary about the Survey of India, and Islamic Art, a BBC4 documentary about, and exhibition of, the Khalili and Hermitage collections. During 1999-2000 he presented a TV magazine programme on the electronic arts called The Lounge, which aired on Sky TV’s [TV) channel.
Since 1995 he has been a contributing editor at Mute the London-based culture and technology magazine and from 1995 to 1997 was Associate Editor of Wired UK, which was to become one of the most influential sources of information and opinion on global technoculture. From 1992 -1994 he lists his occupations as ‘very various - juggler, van driver, waiter, promotions co-ordinator, telesales drudge, DJ and decorator', which 'financed fiction writing, among other things.'
The Impressionist, Hamish Hamilton, 2002
Transmission, Hamish Hamilton, 2004