Bharati Mukherjee (born July 27, 1940) is considered to be one of the most important American writers of the late 20th century. She is currently a professor in the department of English at the University of California, Berkeley.
Of Bengali origin, Mukherjee was born in Calcutta, West Bengal, India. She later traveled with her parents to Europe after Independence, only returning to Calcutta in the early 1950s. There she attended the Loreto School, Kolkata. She received her B.A. from the University of Calcutta in 1959 and her M.A. from the University of Baroda in 1961. She next traveled to the United States to study at the University of Iowa. She received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1963 and her Ph.D. in 1969 from the department of Comparative Literature.
Mukherjee married the writer Clark Blaise in 1963. Together they would co-author two major works of non-fiction, The Sorrow and the Terror: The Haunting Legacy of the Air India Tragedy, 1987, and Days and Nights in Calcutta, 1977. After spending a number of years in Canada, Mukherjee, Blaise, and their children later returned to and settled in the United States.
Mukherjee has taught at McGill University, Skidmore College, and Queens College, City University of New York.
An early and popular work of fiction is her novel Jasmine 1989. In this novel, a young Indian woman becomes an illegal immigrant to the United States and acculturates by taking on a series of different identities.
Mukherjee strives in her novels to understand what is meant by the idea of an American identity and whether in a world of hybridity and multiplicity, such a notion can exist. This is particularly evident in her more recent works The Holder of the World, 1993 and Leave It to Me, 1997. Her latest novel is The Tree Bride, 2004.