Hari Kunzru was born in London in 1969 into a mixed English and Kashmiri Hindu family. His family later moved to Sussex. He attended both Oxford University, where he majored in literature, and Warwick University, from which he graduated with a master’s degree in philosophy.
After college, Kunzru worked many odd jobs from DJ to juggler to waiter, which financed his writing. Later, he worked as a journalist. This allowed him to travel around the world as he reported to various British and international publications, including Time Out, the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Economist, and Wired. In 1999, Kunzru was named the Observer’s Travel Writer of the Year. Besides travel, Kunzru is noted for covering topics such as electronic music, technology, cultural change, and Islamic art.
Kunzru began his creative writing with short stories. However, it was his novel writing that brought him critical and popular attention. His first novel, The Impressionist, published in 2002, was highly acclaimed and eventually won the 2002 Betty Trask Prize and the 2003 Somerset Maugham Award. The Impressionist also won Publishers Weekly’s Best Novels of the Year award in 2002. The protagonist of The Impressionist is Pran Nath Razdan, a mixed-race young man who is disowned by his rich family and must rediscover who he is on his own. Along his journey, he tries out various identities.
After the success of his first novel, Kunzru was named one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists by the publication Granta.
In 2004, Kunzru published his second novel, Transmission, a story about computer programmer Arjun Mehta who lands what he anticipates as a very exciting job in California’s Silicon Valley. His job is to test for viruses. When he gets laid off, Arjun creates a destructive computer virus that has consequences far beyond what he had imagined. The New York Times named this novel as Notable Book of the Year. Kunzru’s first short story collection, Noise, was published in 2005. Two years later, Kunzru published his novel My Revolutions.
Kunzru makes his home in London.