Siddhartha Bose is a writer, poet and playwright based in London.
Siddhartha’s books include two poetry collections, Kalagora and Digital Monsoon (Penned in the Margins, 2010/ 13), a play, No Dogs, No Indians (Penned in the Margins, 2017), and a monograph on the grotesque, Back and Forth (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015).
Siddhartha’s poetry has appeared internationally in various publications including Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century (Bloodaxe, 2009) Dear World and Everyone in It: New Poetry in the UK (Bloodaxe, 2012), The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (HarperCollins, India, 2012). He has been featured on BBC 4 (TV), BBC Radio 3, BBC Asian Network, and was dubbed one of the ‘ten rising stars of British poetry’ by The Times. He has read and performed at festivals and venues like Latitude, Alchemy, the British Council Showcase, Berlin Poetry Hearings, Turku Poetry Week (Finland), New York University, Oxford University, Kings College London, Royal Festival Hall, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, and the House of Lords at the British parliament among many others. A selected readings and performance history is available here.
Siddhartha’s theatre work includes a one-man play, also called Kalagora, which had an acclaimed run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011, London’s Perverted Children, long-listed for an Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, and The Shroud.
Siddhartha has co-edited a special issue of the leading literary journal Wasafiri (Routledge, UK/ USA) on international urban writing. He was a Leverhulme Fellow in Drama at Queen Mary, University of London (2011-13). A selected awards and grants history is available here.
Siddhartha’s ethnographic film on Bombay, Animal City, is an official selection in the competition category at short film festivals in Goa and Pune, India. He also plays with street photography in his spare time.
Siddhartha is an Associate Artist at Penned in the Margins and currently teaches at the Global Shakespeare institute.
What people say
On Kalagora, the play
“an extraordinary odyssey”
“Stunning in its simplicity and endeavour [...] It remains the most mesmerising play I have had the pleasure of seeing”
★★★★★ Broadway Baby
“A surreal one-man show [...] like a mash-up of Allen Ginsberg and Salvador Dali”
★★★★ Three Weeks
“a one-man tour–de-force [..] made me think of Salman Rushdie’s work”
“a name to look out for“
“Kalagora is a hymn to cities, to their richness, their colour, their noise, sprawl and energy, and to the process of cultural merging, mixing and melting that categorises the urban experience”
Natasha Tripney, Exeunt
“One of the stand-out spoken word shows of last year’s Edinburgh Fringe”
Bel Cameron, Exeunt
Performed with great energy and attack with flawless delivery [...] this global language is Bose’s gift to the stage. Just as Shakespeare coined new words borrowed from other languages and made the stage a Pentecostal Tower of Babel so Bose has Kalagora speak a language at once as English as any Oxford Don’s, and as foreign as Bengali or Hindi might be to the same Oxford Don”
John O’ Donoghue, Decibel Performing Arts Showcase Review
“The writing is superb, yet the play’s true skill lies in Bose’s deliverance of the script”
Isabelle Koy-Dibley, Plays to See
On Kalagora, the book of poems
“One of the most exciting first collections I’ve come across in a long time. Kalagora bestrides continents and celebrates cities as engines of creativity where dogs talk in hieroglyphs and where a man can be a moth.”
“Bose’s use of language – invented words, nouns made into verbs and other colourful concoctions – produces a writhing, seething, pulsating poetry.”
The Poetry Book Society Bulletin
“This is a collection that is always dramatic, always in tune with the sensational possibilities of language and the spectacular turn of phrase”
Charles Beckett, Wasafiri
“Bose is also a “hybrid” poet, in the post-colonial sense of the term – his work in Kalagora aiming to merge, bridge, fuse, and intertwine (as they say), the diction, themes, and experiences, of various centres”
Todd Swift, Poetry Review
“This is rampantly active and radioactive poetry; crammed with shock visions and a siege of narratives. The cumulative effect is powerful and intense; Kalagora is a vital book of poems for the 21st century.”
“Kalagora is one of the most impressive debut volumes I have read in recent years.”
Pitting the surrealist against the Romantic, Bose carves out a mongrelized but fruitful crop, proving with Kalagora that a new and vital generation of ‘diaspora’ poets is desperately needed to forge new models among the tired ways of thinking about race, distance and the ‘immigrant experience’.
Sandeep Parmar, The Wolf magazine
“Kalagora is an incantatory assertion, if not of identity, then of power and confidence of moving through identities”
Tony Williams, Magma
You can contact Siddhartha via his publisher/ producer at
Penned in the Margins
22 Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London E1 6AB
You can also contact Siddhartha directly at firstname.lastname@example.org