Nepali writer Samrat Upadhyay

Samrat Upadhyay is a new generation Nepalese writer who writes in English. He is a professor of creative writing and also the Director of Graduate Studies at Indiana University. This Nepali-born fiction writer writing in English is the first to be published in the west. He was born and raised in Kathmandu and then went to the United States at the age of twenty-one where he lives with his wife and daughter in Bloomington Indiana. Before he moved to Indiana in 2003, he was an English professor at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. He got his Ph.D. degree from the University of Hawaii in 1999.


His books portray the current and hot issues of Nepal which the writer views through his concept and thoughts of a contemporary American realist fiction writer. He has been called “a Buddhist Chekhov” by San Francisco Chronicle. He has four books to his credits, Whiting Award winning book Arresting God in Kathmandu which is a collection of stories, The Guru of Love – New York Times’ notable book – another story collection and winner of 2007 Asian-American Literary Award, the Society of Midland Authors Book Award, The Royal Ghosts which was also declared as “A Best of Fiction” in 2006 by Washington Post and the newest publication Buddha’s Orphan, a multi-generational, multi-layered novel which was considered as ‘powerful and beautifully told’ by Publisher Weekly. He directs Indiana University’s Creative Writing program which is ranked among the best in the nation and he has also appeared on the BBC and National Public Radio. He also co-edited the anthology Secret Places: New Writing from Nepal (University of Hawaii Press) which was published in winter of 2001 as a special issue of Manoa magazine.


Upadhyay is popular among the young generation as the storyline of his novels and stories are subject of interest for the younger generations. He deals with the contemporary subject matters of relationships as well as sexual content in his works. However, some of the contents in few stories of his are quite unbelievable and unacceptable in the traditional as well as present modern society of Nepal.

Samrat Upadhyay, however controversial his subject matters might be, is a popular and prominent Nepali writer writing in English and is a hope to improve and establish Nepali literature.