Junot Diaz calls Coolie
"both a historical rescue mission and a
profound meditation on family and womanhood"; Pankaj
Mishra, "pathbreaking"; Adam Hochschild, "highly original";
Teju Cole, "both scholarly and soulful"; and British
historian Richard Drayton, "a major contribution to the
literature of diaspora." Read more at
In 1903, a young
woman sailed from India to Guiana as a ?coolie??the British
name for indentured laborers who replaced the newly
emancipated slaves on sugar plantations all around the world.
Pregnant and traveling alone, this woman, like so many coolies,
disappeared into history. Now, in Coolie Woman, her
great-granddaughter Gaiutra Bahadur embarks on a journey into the
past to find her. Traversing three continents and trawling through
countless colonial archives, Bahadur excavates not only her
great-grandmother?s story but also the repressed history of some
quarter of a million other coolie women, shining a light on their
Gaiutra Bahadur is a journalist and book critic who
writes frequently about the culture and politics of global
migration. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book
Review, Washington Post Book World, The Nation, The Virginia
Quarterly Review and Ms., among other publications. A former
daily newspaper staff writer, Gaiutra has told the stories of
asylum seekers and immigrants in Philadelphia and its suburbs
and reported from Baghdad, Iraqi refugee outposts in Syria and
Jordan, and the U.S.-Mexico border. She was born in Guyana and
immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of six.
Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture is her first book.
The book was published in 2013 to critical acclaim in the
U.S., U.K., India and the Caribbean. It has been longlisted for
the Orwell Prize, Britain's most prestigious award for political
writing, and the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.