, and it’s no wonder why. Chakrabarti has been anthologized in The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Short Stories, and awarded a Pushcart Prize. He was born in Kolkata, India, and now splits his time between the Hudson Valley and Brooklyn, New York. His MFA from Brooklyn College was earned as an Emerging Writer Fellow with A Public Space.
Chakrabarti’s writing education has been significantly impacted by oral storytelling. His great uncle showed him the power of storytelling to bring people together, and he has since valued the sound of sentences when they’re read aloud. He was part of a poetry collective in NYC, the Louderarts project, which taught him to listen deeply to the rhythms of a piece.
The best writing advice Chakrabarti has ever received came from Michael Cunningham at Brooklyn College MFA: imagine that every minor character in a short story or a novel is the protagonist in some other work. This has helped him avoid narrative shortcuts and think more deeply about every character he invites into a story.
When Chakrabarti faces writer’s block, he tackles it with character journaling and visualizing and mapping story structures. He rereads works such as To the Lighthouse, Bleak House, Rabindranath Tagore’s short stories, Munro and Malamud, and poems by Stanley Kunitz, Claudia Rankine, and Galway Kinnell. His favorite character is the Kabuliwallah, who appears in a couple of stories in A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness. This character is a refugee, a wanderer, and a miscreant, yet he befriends and adopts a homeless child. Chakrabarti hopes readers will connect to the Kabuliwallah as they would an estranged uncle who is worthy of forgiveness and love.