The author of the ‘The Space Between Us” makes a stop at Kentwood’s Schuler Books & Music

Thrity Umrigar

The author of “The Space Between Us” Thrity Umrigar will be making a stop at Schuler Books & Music Friday, April 21.

Umrigar, who also wrote “The Weight of Heaven” and “The Story Hour” and the memoir “First Darling of the Morning,” will talk at 7 p.m. with a signing afterwards. Her newest title is the gorgeous picture book, “When I Carried You In My Belly,” illustrated by Ziyue Chen.

Umrigar’s books have been translated into several languages and published in more than fifteen countries. She is the Armington Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

“The Space Between Us” was a finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins award, while her memoir was a finalist for the Society of Midland Authors award. “If Today Be Sweet” was a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection, while her other books have been Community Reads selections. Umrigar is the winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize, a Lambda Literary award and the Seth Rosenberg prize.

Umrigar was born in Bombay, India and came to the U.S. when she was 21. As a Parsi child attending a Catholic school in a predominantly Hindu country, she had the kind of schizophrenic and cosmopolitan childhood that has served her well in her life as a writer. Accused by teachers and parents alike of being a daydreaming, head-in-the-clouds child, she grew up lost in the fictional worlds created by Steinbeck, Hemingway, Woolf and Faulkner. She would emerge long enough from these books to create her own fictional and poetic worlds. Encouraged by her practical-minded parents to get an undergraduate degree in business, Umrigar survived business school by creating a drama club and writing, directing and acting in plays. Her first short stories, essays and poems were published in national magazines and newspapers in India at age fifteen.

After earning a M.A. in journalism  in the U.S., Umrigar worked for several years as an award-winning reporter, columnist and magazine writer. She also earned a Ph.D. in English. In 1999, Umrigar won a one-year Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University, which is given to mid-career journalists.

While at Harvard, Umrigar wrote her first novel, “Bombay Time.” In 2002 she accepted a teaching position at Case Western Reserve University, where she is now the Armington Professor of English.  She also does occasional freelance pieces for national publications and has written for the Washington Post and the Boston Globe’s book pages.