Rita Banerjee is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press) and the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press), which was nominated for the 2019 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize at the Academy of American Poets, named one of Book Riot’s “Must-Read Poetic Voices of Split This Rock 2018”, and was selected by Finishing Line Press as their 2018 nominee for the National Book Award in Poetry. Banerjee is also the author of the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press). Her dissertation The New Voyager: Theory and Practice of South Asian Literary Modernisms is available through ProQuest. She is the co-writer and co-director of Burning Down the Louvre (2023), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France. She received a 2021-2022 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council for her new memoir and manifesto on female cool, and one of the opening chapters of this new memoir, “Birth of Cool” was a Notable Essay in the 2020 Best American Essays.
Rita Banerjee received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard University and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. She received a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center at Harvard University, and is a recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Grant, the Tom and Laurel Nebel Fellowship, and South Asia Initiative and Tata Grants among other awards. As an American writer, Banerjee has lived in Germany, India, Japan, France, and the Netherlands, and multilingualism and transnationalism form the core of her artistic practice and scholarship.
Her work has appeared on-air on Vermont Public Radio, Goddard College Community Radio’s Bon Mot, the Ruth Stone Foundation Podcast, and KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and in print in the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, Hunger Mountain, PANK, Nat. Brut., Isele Magazine, South Asian Avant-Garde, The Nervous Breakdown, Kweli Journal, The Scofield, The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Tahoma Literary Review, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, and elsewhere.
She served as the judge for the 2020 Sustainable Montpelier “What Comes Next?” Writing Competition, 2019 Vermont Poetry Out Loud State Championship at PBS Studios (Vermont), the judge for the 2019 Spider Road Press Flash Fiction Contest, and the judge for the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest.
In 2008, she co-founded the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop at Harvard University with Diana Norma Szokolyai and serves as its Executive Creative Director and she is also a Senior Editor of the South Asian Avant-Garde. She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a memoir and manifesto about how young women of color keep their cool against social, sexual, and economic pressure. Her writing is represented by literary agent Jamie Chambliss of Folio Literary Management.