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Chitra Ramaswamy

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Chitra Ramaswamy

I am the author of two nonfiction books and a journalist with twenty years’ experience. My first book, Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy (Saraband), is a work of narrative nonfiction examining the nine months of pregnancy and birth through nine personal essays. It won the Saltire First Book of the Year award and was shortlisted for the Polari prize. My second book, Homelands: The History of a Friendship (Canongate), is a hybrid biography-memoir exploring my friendship with Henry Wuga, a 98-year-old German Jewish refugee who came to Britain in the spring of 1939 on a Kindertransport. It won the Saltire Non Fiction Book of the Year and was selected by The Guardian as one of their top memoirs and biographies of 2022. I’ve contributed essays to Antlers of Water, Nasty Women, The Freedom Papers, The Bi:ble, and Message From the Skies, a project which invited six writers to pen love letters to Europe, which were projected onto chosen buildings across Edinburgh. I’m currently working on a commission from the Alasdair Gray Archive to respond to pieces in the late writer’s archive in Glasgow.

In my work as a journalist, I’m a freelance TV critic, features and opinion writer for The Guardian, the restaurant critic for The Times (Scottish edition) and I broadcast for BBC Radio. I also regularly chair book events in bookshops and at festivals — last year I was in conversation on stage with writers including Rebecca Solnit, Roger Robinson, and Patrick Radden Keefe. I have been a judge on the panels of various literary prizes in recent years including the Desmond Elliot prize, the British Book awards (nonfiction category), and the Gordon Burn prize.

Over the past few years I’ve taught journalism, essay, and memoir/life writing courses at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, and am about to start teaching an online twelve-week course on memoir at the National Centre for Writing, formerly the Writers’ Centre Norwich.

I’m from London, and am the British-Indian daughter of immigrants from Bangalore. I live in Leith, Edinburgh, with my partner, two young children, and rescue dog.


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