Preti Taneja is a writer and activist. Her debut novel WE THAT ARE YOUNG (Galley Beggar Press, 2017) is a translation of Shakespeare's King Lear, set in contemporary
India. It won the Desmond Elliott Prize for the finest literary debut novel of the year and was listed for awards including the Folio Prize, the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize
and the Prix Jan Michalski, Europe's premier award for a work of world literature.
It is published by AA Knopf in the USA, and in translation worldwide.
Preti's second book is AFTERMATH, a lament on trauma, terror, prison and grief,
following the London Bridge terror attack in 2019. Published in the 'Undelivered Lectures' series by Transit Books, USA, and by And Other Stories in the UK, it was a New Yorker notable book, a New Yorker best book of the year, a White Review
book of the year and a New Statesman book of the year in 2021 and in 2022, and shortlisted for British Book of the Year - Discover.
AFTERMATH won the 2022 Gordon Burn Prize, awarded for 'literature
that is forward-thinking and fearless in its ambition and execution, often playing
with style, pushing boundaries, crossing genres or challenging readers’ expectations.'
Preti is published in The White Review, the Guardian, Vogue India, the New Statesman, Granta, INQUE and in anthologies of short stories, essays, literary criticism and prose poetry, and is featured in The Penguin Book of Indian Poets, edited by Jeet Thayil.
She has taught writing in prisons, worked with arts practitioners around the world mediating their own conflict and post conflict zones, and with young people across deprived parts of the UK who want to get published.
In 2022 Preti was named winner of the prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize in Languages and Literatures 'for her work on combining ethics, politics and aesthetics; developing pioneering hybrid creative forms, including via literary prose to advocate for minority rights.'
She is Professor of World Literature and Creative Writing at Newcastle University and Director of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts (NCLA).
In 2023 she was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL).
As a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker, she broadcasts for Radio 3 and 4 on world literature and culture.
With Ben Crowe she co-founded ERA Films, a collective working on issues as diverse as Iraq’s refugee crisis, in Rwanda with survivors of the genocide and with women in slum areas of Nairobi, Kenya and on major interactive multimedia documentaries including on migrant workers' rights.
With Kristen Harrison of THE CURVED HOUSE, Preti co founded VISUAL VERSE, the anthology of art and words, bringing the freshest new writing from around the world to a global audience. Visual Verse was open to submissions from 2013-2023, publishing over 3000 original contributions. Visual Verse is now archived online at Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts where it is freely accessible to all for research and inspiration.
Preti is a Contributing Editor for the multi-award winning independent press And Other Stories, for which she accepts submissions of full manuscripts.
Co-Chair, English PEN Translation Advisory Group (ongoing)
Judge, Wasafiri New Writing Prize, (2022)
Judge The White Review Short Story Prize (2021)
Contributing Editor, The White Review (2020 - 2023)
Chair of judges for National Centre for Writing's Desmond Elliott Prize (2020)
Judge, the inaugural Orwell Prize in Political Fiction (2019)
Judge, Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize, (2018)
Preti has been invited to speak about AFTERMATH and WE THAT ARE YOUNG around the world, including Ledbury Festival, Adelaide Writer's Week, Hay Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Jaipur Literary Festival, Livres sur les Quais, Morges, Switzerland, Brooklyn Book Festival, Kolkata Lit Fest, Kolkata Lit Meet, Hyderabad Lit Fest, Atta Galata Bangalore, Greenwich Book Fest (UK), Milton Keynes Literary Festival, Primadonna Festival (UK), Kenilworth Book Festival....and in bookshop events including Shakespeare and Company (Paris), City Lights, (San Francisco), Politics and Prose (Washington DC), Elliott Bay Book Co (Seattle) ... And at universities including: Yale, Harvard (MIT), John's Hopkins, Vassar College, Cambridge, Newcastle, Dublin, with keynote addresses at the British Shakespeare Association Annual Conference (2019) and World Shakespeare Congress (2021). She gave the British Academy Annual Keynote, Leeds University, 2021.
In 2023, Preti was one of twenty world-writers to be invited to The Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
WRITER IN RESIDENCE:
WEST DEAN Writer in Residence (2023)
SEAGULL BOOKS, KOLKATA (2020)
TIDE: TRAVEL and TRANSCULTURAL IDENTITY in the EARLY MODERN PERIOD, THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD (2020)
UNESCO Fellow in Prose Fiction - University of East Anglia (2019)
image by Rory O' Bryen