Jeet Thayil

(1959 - Present)

Born in Kerala, India, Jeet Thayil is a performance poet, librettist, novelist, musician, and journalist. He was raised in Mumbai and Hong Kong and attended Wilson College in Mumbai. Later, he received his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in New York State. He has lived and worked as a journalist in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hong Kong, and New York. Thayil spent many years as a drug addict, an experience that inspired his debut novel, Narcopolis. Published by Faber in 2012, Narcopolis won a DSC Prize for South Asian literature and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, catapulting Thayil to literary fame.

Thayil’s poetry collections include Collected Poems (2015); These Errors are Correct (2008), winner of the 2012 Sahitya Akademi Award for an English-language book; English (2004); Apocalypso (1997); and Gemini II: Selected Poems (1994). An editor of several poetry and essay anthologies, Thayil is also the author of the novels Names of the Women (2021), Low (2020), and The Book of Chocolate Saints (2017) and the libretto for the opera Babur in London. He lives in New Delhi.


Photo by Basso Cannarsa.