Samrat Upadhyay earned his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii in 1999. He joined the Indiana University (IU) faculty in 2003 as an assistant professor of English. He was promoted to associate professor in 2006 and full professor in 2011. In 2013, he earned the additional, honorary title of Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities, and he was named a Distinguished Professor, the highest academic title for the most outstanding and renowned scholars and researchers at IU, in 2019.
Upadhyay is the first Nepali-born fiction writer to be published in the United States. His debut short story collection Arresting God in Kathmandu was the winner of the 2001 Whiting Writers’ Award and his second short story collection, The Royal Ghosts, won the 2007 Asian American Literary Award. His first novel, The Guru of Love, was a New York Times Notable Book while his second novel, Buddha’s Orphans, was longlisted for the 2012 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. His 2014 novel, The City Son, was longlisted for the PEN Open Book award. His latest story collection, Mad Country, has been called “brilliant, daring, and memorable” by the New York Times Sunday Book Review. It was also a finalist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize. He has written for The New York Times and has appeared on BBC Radio and National Public Radio.
In 2016, Upadhyay was the only Indiana writer to win a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. Upadhyay received the IU Bicentennial Medal in September 2020 in recognition of his distinguished contributions to Indiana University.