Rita Banerjee

Poet, Creative Nonfiction Writer


Author's Bio

Rita Banerjee is the Director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and the editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018). She is the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, March 2018), which was nominated for the 2019 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize at the Academy of American Poets, featured on the Ruth Stone Foundation Podcast, 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, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She is the co-writer with David Shields of Burning Down the Louvre (2020), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France.

Her writing has appeared on-air on Goddard College Community Radio’s Bon Mot and KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and in print in the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, Hunger Mountain, Nat. Brut., 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.

In 2008, she co-founded the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop at Harvard University with Diana Norma Szkolyai and serves as its Executive Creative Director.  She earned her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard University and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington.  She is an Associate Scholar of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and she served as judge for the 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 the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest.  She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.  Her writing is represented by agents Jeff Kleinman and Jamie Chambliss of Folio Literary Management.

Publications & Prizes

Creative Nonfiction

CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, 2018)


Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, 2018)
Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010)
Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day
Amethyst Arsenic
Catamaran: South Asian American Writing,
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Dr. Hurley's Snake-Oil Cure
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Poets & Writers
Poets for Living Waters
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The Monarch Review
Prizes won: 

Nominee for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize at the Academy of American Poets (2019), Vermont Studio Center's Artist's Grant (2018); Finishing Line Press’s Nominee for the National Book Award in Poetry (2018); Nominee for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award (2018); Finalist for the Three Mile Harbor Poetry Book Prize (2017); Shortlisted for Aquarius Press Willow Books Literature Award (2016); Finalist for Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award (2015); Los Angeles Book Festival - 1st Honorable Mention for Cracklers at Night (2012); Crab Pot Poetry Prize for "The moon had jackknifed," (2006); University of Washington Poetry Prize (2006); Evelyn Hamilton Award for Creative Writing (2004)

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Fluent in: 
Bengali;Bangla, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese
Born in: 
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Nov 26, 2019