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Born and raised in London, UK, before emigrating to the US in 1981, Ranbir Sidhu studied archaeology at UC Berkeley, achieving Highest Honors and Highest Distinction in General Scholarship. An avid photographer and writer since his teens, he won early praise by winning two university-wide fiction competitions as an undergraduate. Abandoning a career in archaeology, he took up writing seriously, and studied with avant-garde French novelist Monique Wittig.
In 1998, he moved to New York City, where he lived for sixteen years, publishing widely, and winning a Pushcart Prize in fiction and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. His books include Deep Singh Blue (2016), Good Indian Girls (2012), Object Lessons (in 12 Sides w/Afterglow) (2016) and The Fabulary (1997). His most recent, Hacking Trump A Writer Remembers (2018) is his first non-fiction book.
He has collaborated widely, including participating in the 2005 Flux Factory installation NOVEL!, which the New York Times Editorial Board prominently attacked as a mark of the death of literature. In the mid-1990s, he was part of the first generation of serious South Asian American theater artists through his work with San Francisco-based Chaat Performance Collective. He is the author of several full-length plays, including True East…, Sangeet, and Conquistadors, and has worked with MCC Theater, LaMama, the Prelude Festival, Disha Theater and the Matrix, LA.
His fiction and non-fiction appear in numerous magazines and journals, including The Georgia Review, The Byword, Fence, Zyzzyva, The Missouri Review, Other Voices, The Happy Hypocrite, The Literary Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Vice, The Wire, The Towner, Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, Terrain, and The Nation. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Village Voice, Gawker, and The Wire. His essay, “The Indian Wedding that Exploded in Violence,” was selected as one of the Notable Essays in Best American Essays 2016, edited by Jonathan Franzen.
He has been awarded residencies by the Edward Albee Foundation, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Villa Montalvo. He continues to photograph seriously, and is currently developing two film projects with the production company Grand Trunk Road. Among many other jobs, he has worked as the assistant to the playwright Edward Albee and once spent a year help assisting Joanna Steichen, widow of the renowned photographer Edward Steichen, catalog her personal collection of photographs. He currently hides on the island of Crete.