Suketu Mehta was born in Calcutta and raised in Bombay and moved to New York when he was fourteen. He focuses on global migration inspired from personal experience as an immigrant in his acclaimed book This Land is Our Land — named by The Times as one of the 100 Must-Read Books of 2019 and one of the 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2019. He argues for the ways in which immigrants enable communities and countries to flourish. He engages audiences with his story and those of many others who have shaped the writing of his book and the changing communities all over the world. He is a graduate of New York University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is now an Associate Professor of Journalism at New York University. 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 highly-acclaimed Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found paints a portrait of Bombay, India and the everyday life of its people and has won the Kiriyama Prize and the Hutch Crossword Award. It was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, the Lettre Ulysses Prize, the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award.
His second book, This Land Is Our Land, has been called by The New York Times as “well argued, cathartic, and abundantly sourced” and offering a “meticulously researched and deeply felt corrective to the public narrative of who today’s migrants are, why they are coming, and what economic and historical forces have propelled them from their homes into faraway lands.” It explores the discussion and controversy of immigration and is a timely intervention that argues for the need for immigration.
Mehta is currently working on a nonfiction book about immigrants in contemporary New York, for which he was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. Mehta’s work and articles have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, National Geographic, Granta, Harper’s Magazine, Time, and Newsweek, and has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air and All Things Considered. He has also written original screenplays for films, including New York, I Love You.Download Bio
This Land Is Our LandAn Immigrant's Manifesto
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Already being hailed as "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. 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.
TIME named This Land is Our Land as one of the 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2019.
This Land Is Our Land named one of the 100 Must-Read Books of 2019 by TIME.
Read his recent interview with The Guardian on This Land Is Our Land.
Check out NPR’s interview with Suketu and the inspiration behind This Land Is Our Land.
Read his op-ed in The New York Times on the current state of immigration in the US.
IndiaToday covered his speech at India Today Conclave 2019.
Listen to him discuss This Land Is Our Land with C-Span Book TV.
—The New York Times
“A withering rebuke to the anti-immigration rhetoric that has arisen in global politics in recent years. Mehta dismantles the narratives of populist ideologues in a fierce defense of global immigration.”
—Time on "32 Books You Need to Read This Summer"
“An urgent and impassioned call for why countries should accept more migrants. As the country heads into the 2020 presidential election, Mehta’s moving, cogent book can help us find a way forward.”
—The San Francisco Chronicle
“Written ‘in sorrow and anger,’ this is a brilliant and urgently necessary book, eloquently making the case against bigotry and for all of us migrants — what we are not, who we are, and why we deserve to be welcomed, not feared.”
“The must-read book for 2019. Suketu Mehta is one of our finest thinkers and writers on the subject of immigration. What begins as a journey that mixes just the right amount of humor, anger and bewilderment at the state of our nation, ends up with a surprising double-shot of hope. This is the rare book that is pragmatic and unsentimental, and yet oddly uplifting.”
—Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story and Lake Success
“Mehta has written a compassionate and powerful plea on behalf of migrants that also reveals the deep forces that propel them on their journeys. He exposes the demeaning ways that migrants are treated around the world, and the very human aspirations that may lead them to accept this dehumanization. In so doing, he gives us a searing indictment of those like Donald Trump who do so much to make their plight even worse.”
—Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics
“A powerful, passionate, angry, and hopeful cry for sanity and justice by one of our finest writers. Mehta’s heart-felt book is a much-needed and potent antidote to the anti-migrant rhetoric that has grown so threateningly loud of late. Let them come!”
—Mohsin Hamid, author of Exit West and The Reluctant Fundamentalist
“Suketu Mehta has written a burning indictment of anti-immigrant hypocrisy, and an affirmation of hope in the real America — the America where we treat each other as human beings with a common future, and not a faceless problem to be solved by walls and barbed wire. Rousing and immensely readable, it is an anthem for all of us.”
—Jhumpa Lahiri, author of The Lowland