Dr. Rita Banerjee

New Jersey, United States

Member Since: 09/01/2011

Rita Banerjee is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press) and the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press), which was nominated for the 2019 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize at the Academy of American Poets, 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), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press). Her dissertation The New Voyager: Theory and Practice of South Asian Literary Modernisms is available through ProQuest. She is the co-writer and co-director of Burning Down the Louvre (2023), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France.  She received a 2021-2022 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council for her new memoir and manifesto on female cool, and one of the opening chapters of this new memoir, “Birth of Cool” was a Notable Essay in the 2020 Best American Essays.

Rita Banerjee received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard University and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. She received a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center at Harvard University, and is a recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Grant, the Tom and Laurel Nebel Fellowship, and South Asia Initiative and Tata Grants among other awards. As an American writer, Banerjee has lived in Germany, India, Japan, France, and the Netherlands, and multilingualism and transnationalism form the core of her artistic practice and scholarship.

Her work has appeared on-air on Vermont Public Radio, Goddard College Community Radio’s Bon Mot, the Ruth Stone Foundation Podcast, and KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and in print in the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, Hunger Mountain, PANK, Nat. Brut., Isele Magazine, South Asian Avant-Garde, The Nervous Breakdown, Kweli Journal, 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. 

She served as the judge for the 2020 Sustainable Montpelier “What Comes Next?” Writing Competition2019 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 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest

In 2008, she co-founded the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop at Harvard University with Diana Norma Szokolyai and serves as its Executive Creative Director and she is also an Editor-at-Large of the South Asian Avant-Garde. She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a memoir and manifesto about how young women of color keep their cool against social, sexual, and economic pressure. Her writing is represented by literary agent Jamie Chambliss of Folio Literary Management. You can follow her work at ritabanerjee.com or on Twitter @Rita_Banerjee.

Website: http://ritabanerjee.com

Twitter Username: @Rita_Banerjee


  • CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing , C&R Press (May 15, 2018)
  • Echo in Four Beats (poetry debut) , Finishing Line Press (March 7, 2018)
  • A Night with Kali (novella) in Approaching Footsteps , Spider Road Press (November 2016)
  • Cracklers at Night (poetry chapbook) , Finishing Line Press (December 2010)


  • Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant (2021)
  • Vermont Studio Center Arist's Grant (2020)
  • Best American Essays 2020 - Notable Essay for "Birth of Cool" (2020)
  • Vermont Studio Center Artist Grant (2018)
  • Three Mile Harbor Press Poetry Prize - Finalist (2017)
  • Aquarius Press Willow Books Literature Award - Shortlist (2016)
  • Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award - Finalist (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)


  • Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Warren Wilson College (June 2023 - )
  • Director, MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College (June 2023 - )
  • Assistant Professor of Creative Writing; Pedagogy Advisor at Long Island University Brooklyn (September 2021 - April 2023)
  • Director, MFA in Writing & PCo-Director, MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing ublishing at Long Island University Brooklyn (September 2021 - August 2022)
  • Director and Faculty Chair, MFA in Writing & Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts (August 2018 - July 2021)
  • Executive Creative Director at Cambridge Writers' Workshop, Inc. (September 2008 - )


  • Doctoral Degree in Comparative Literature from Harvard University (May 2013)
  • Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from University of Washington (May 2006)

Genres of Interest

Fiction, Creative nonfiction, Playwriting, Screenwriting, Poetry