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Monday
09
APR

The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta

17:30
19:00
Penn Book Center
Event organized by Penn Book Center

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Join us Monday, April 9
at 5:30 pm
for a reading and discussion with

Kushanava Choudhury
of his book
The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta


When Kushanava Choudhury arrived in New Jersey at the age of twelve, he had already migrated halfway around the world four times. After graduating from Princeton, he moved back to the world which his immigrant parents had abandoned, to a city built between a river and a swamp, where the moisture-drenched air swarms with mosquitos after sundown.

Once the capital of the British Raj, and then India's industrial and cultural hub, by 2001 Calcutta was clearly past its prime. Why, his relatives beseeched him, had he returned? Surely, he could have moved to Delhi, Bombay or Bangalore, where a new Golden Age of consumption was being born.

Yet fifteen million people still lived in Calcutta. Working for the Statesman, its leading English newspaper, Kushanava Choudhury found the streets of his childhood unchanged by time. Shouting hawkers still overran the footpaths, fish-sellers squatted on bazaar floors; politics still meant barricades and bus burnings, while Communist ministers travelled in motorcades.

Sifting through the chaos for the stories that never make the papers, Kushanava Choudhury paints a soulful, compelling portrait of the everyday lives that make Calcutta. Written with humanity, wit and insight, The Epic City is an unforgettable portrait of an era, and a city which is a world unto itself.


Kushanava Choudhury grew up in Calcutta and New Jersey. After graduating from Princeton University he worked as a reporter at the Statesman in Calcutta. He went on to receive a PhD in Political Theory from Yale University before returning to Calcutta to write a book about the city. The Epic City is his first book.