(Last Updated on : 10-08-2012)
Raj Kamal Jha was born in 1966 in Calcutta, India.His father was a college professor in Calcutta. After completing secondary education from St. Joseph's College, Jha got admitted to the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, to have a degree in engineering. Though Jha graduated in engineering, he realized he loved writing more than engineering and for that he went to The University of Southern California to pursue a course in journalism. He got full scholarship there and also completes a master's degree in 1990.
During school, Jha started writing and use to write for college literary magazines After graduation, he did internships at The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.Then Jha returned to Calcutta a took job in The Statesman and later he became the Assistant Editor (News) in this English daily. He also worked for India Today as Senior Associate Editor.Then he accepted the job in Indian Express in 1996. From 2001 Jha has been working the executive editor of this famous national daily. Under his editorshipThe Indian Express has twice won the Vienna-based International Press Institute's award for Excellence in Journalism in 2004 and 2006.
Apart from his journalistic writing he also wrote three novels. His first novel, The Blue Bedspreadwas published in 2000. He was awarded Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for this novel.In 2003 his second novel If You Are Afraid of Heights appeared.It also got accolades from the literary critics. His third novel, Fireproof, was published in German at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2006 .the story of this novel set against the backdrop of the 2002 Gujarat violence, the attack innocent Muslim civilians after 9/11. It also received sevaral critical acclaim.
His fiction is mainly based on contemporary Indian themes.He has been working with a wide range of disturbing subject, from domestic violence to the urban-rural divide ,caste system, mass violence and communal tension etc-the reality of India which the main stream media are eschewing His writing style is very simple and sparse which helps the reader deeply engage with the suject.
Jha's book has been translated into many European languages, including French, German, Italian, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, Turkish, Spanish and Finnish. His short stories have appeared in French and German anthologies as well. His work has been featured in several international literary festivals, including Hay-on-Wye, Munich Writers' Festival, Melbourne Writers' Festival and the Los Angeles Times Book Festival.
At present Jha is visiting professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He was also a fellow member at the Yaddo Residency ,New York, in 2005.