Born: September 17, 1961
Ohio connection: Resident
“Bracingly honest…a perceptive and often piercing writer” is how The New York Times describes Thrity Umrigar, an Indian émigré who now calls Ohio home. Born in Bombay, Thrity left India for Ohio at the age of 21 in part because she felt she “would never be totally independent and would never discover who exactly I was as a person. I wanted to live in a place where I would rise or fall based on my own efforts and talents.” Concurrent with her work as a journalist for the Lorain Journal and the Akron Beacon Journal, Thrity earned an M.A. in journalism at The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in English at Kent State University. In 1999 Thrity was awarded the Nieman Fellowship which allows journalists a year of study at Harvard University. It was during this year that she became serious about completing her debut novel, Bombay Time, which was substantively completed in a two month period following a trip home to Bombay. Published in 2001, Bombay Time portrays “the lives of longtime residents of an apartment building and is an examination of their bonds with each other as well as their love-hate relationship with the city of their birth.” This acclaimed work was followed by her memoir, First Darling of the Morning, and her second novel, The Space Between Us, published in 2005. Presently, Umrigar makes her home in Cleveland and teaches creative writing and literature at Case Western Reserve University.
2009 Cleveland Arts Prize; Nieman fellowship, Harvard University, 1999; awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Press Club of Cleveland.