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Siddhartha Bose

Siddhartha Bose - Photo by Liam Davenport

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 monograph on the grotesque, Back and Forth (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), and a play, No Dogs, No Indians (Penned in the Margins, 2017).

Siddhartha’s poetry has appeared internationally in Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century (Bloodaxe, 2009), Dear World and Everyone in It: New Poetry in the UK (Bloodaxe, 2012), and The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (HarperCollins, India, 2012). He has been featured on BBC Radio (Radio 3, Asian Network, Radio London) and on BBC 4 (TV), the Evening Standard, the Guardian, the TLS, and was dubbed one of the ‘ten rising stars of British poetry’ by The Times. He has been a featured author at festivals and venues like the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Latitude, Alchemy, the British Council Showcase (Norwich ’12), Berlin Poetry Hearings, Turku Poetry Week (Finland), New York University, Royal Festival Hall, Ronnie Scott’s, and the House of Lords among others.

Siddhartha’s theatre work includes a one-man play, also called Kalagora (2010-12), which had an acclaimed run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011, London’s Perverted Children (2013-14), and The Shroud (2014). His shows have sold out the Southbank Centre, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Brighton Festival, Norwich Arts Centre, Live Theatre Newcastle, RichMix London, and The Yard.

Siddhartha was invited to speak about his work at the Oxford Centre of Life Writing, Wolfson College, Oxford University in a talk, ‘Memory as Imagination in a Globalised World’ (2015).

Siddhartha has co-edited a special issue of the literary journal Wasafiri (Routledge, UK/ USA) on international urban writing. He was a Leverhulme Fellow in English & Drama at Queen Mary, University of London (2011-13). He has conducted masterclasses at universities, and has worked on projects and workshops with Google, the Roundhouse, and Pearson. Siddhartha has made an ethnographic film on Bombay, Animal City.

Siddhartha is an Associate Artist at Penned in the Margins.

What people say

On Kalagora, the play

“an extraordinary odyssey”

Julian Sands, BBC Radio 4

“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.”

Ian McMillan, The Verb, BBC Radio 3

“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.”

James Byrne

“Kalagora is one of the most impressive debut volumes I have read in recent years.”

Sudeep Sen

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


Siddhartha is represented by Kat Aitken at United Agents, London.

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