Maya Jaggi is a writer, literary critic and editor who, as one of Britain's most respected cultural journalists, is "an influential voice on world literature". In the words of the Open University, she "has had a transformative influence in the last 25 years in extending the map of international writing today". She has been a contributor to many publications including The Guardian, Financial Times, The Independent, The Economist and Newsweek. She is also a broadcaster and presenter on radio and television. Jaggi is the niece of actor and food writer Madhur Jaffrey.
Life and career
Her first job, in the 1980s, was as Literary Editor of the journal Third World Quarterly, where she "created a literature section that embraced Latin America as part of the global South", commissioning and publishing work by and about major writers. In the late 1990s, she joined the staff of The Guardian, working on the foreign news desk while also writing for the paper's cultural pages.
Since 2000 Jaggi has built a freelance career reporting on arts and culture from five continents and has earned acclaim for her long-form arts profiles, written particularly for the Guardian Review. In addition, she has contributed articles and reviews to a wide range of publications, among them the Financial Times, The Independent, The Economist, The Times Literary Supplement, The Observer, The Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, Index on Censorship, the Literary Review, the Evening Standard, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, Bookforum, and Wasafiri magazine.
She has interviewed a dozen Nobel Prize-winners for literature, including Gunter Grass, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jose Saramago, Toni Morrison, Derek Walcott, V. S. Naipaul, Kenzaburō Ōe, and Orhan Pamuk (before he won the prize), as well as other celebrated authors and scholars including Chinua Achebe, Umberto Eco, Tom Stoppard, W. G. Sebald, James Kelman, Alice Walker, Nuruddin Farah, Mahmoud Darwish, Hanan al-Shaykh, Elias Khoury, Alaa al-Aswany, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Amin Maalouf, Isabel Allende, Henry Louis Gates Jr, Eric Hobsbawm, George Steiner, Jeanette Winterson, Caryl Phillips, Kazuo Ishiguro, Arundhati Roy, Walter Mosley, Terry McMillan, Amy Tan, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Aminatta Forna, Romesh Gunesekera, Junot Diaz and Edward Said (the latter praising her profile of him as "in a class of its own"), and practitioners of diverse art forms, such as filmmaker Costa Gavras, musician Abdullah Ibrahim, painter Frank Bowling, dancer Carlos Acosta, and Oprah Winfrey.
Several of Jaggi's literary profiles have appeared in such collections as Lives and Works (2002), Writing Across Worlds: Contemporary Writers Talk (ed. Susheila Nasta, 2004) and Women of the Revolution: Forty Years of Feminism (ed. Kira Cochrane, 2010). The 2001 Penguin Modern Classics edition of Chinua Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah has an introduction by Jaggi. In September 2004 she was one of 50 Black and Asian writers celebrated for their contribution to the canon of contemporary British literature in a photograph at the British Library entitled "A Great Day".
Her work as a broadcaster encompasses contributions to such BBC radio programmes as The Strand, Front Row, Night Waves, Off the Page, Any Questions? and The World Tonight, and she was writer-presenter of the television documentary Isabel Allende: The Art of Reinvention (BBC4, 2003). In 2009, Jaggi's interview with cultural theorist Stuart Hall was the subject of a 258-minute film by Mike Dibb entitled Personally Speaking: A Long Conversation with Stuart Hall.
Jaggi has served as an adviser to the London Arts Board and the British Council, an executive member of English PEN and as a judge for numerous literary awards: the Orange Prize, the David Cohen Prize, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, the Amnesty International UK Media Awards, the Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize, the Warwick Prize for Writing, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, the Man Asian Literary Prize, the Caine Prize for African Writing, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and others. She participates regularly in literary festivals, presents seminars and live events, and is a board member of Wasafiri magazine and a patron of the SI Leeds Literary Prize. She is also a member of the Folio Prize Academy.
- 1996: National Newspaper Writer of the Year, Race in the Media Awards (RIMA).
- 1998: National Newspaper Writer of the Year, Race in the Media Awards.
- 1998: Feature writer of the year, EMMA awards, Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy.
- 1999: Feature writer of the year, EMMA awards, Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy.
- 2001: National News – body of work, RIMA, shortlisted
- 2012: Honorary degree of Doctor of the University, Open University.
- "Cultural journalist Maya Jaggi receives OU Honorary Doctorate", The Open University, 3 April 2012.
- Maya Jaggi profile, The Guardian.
- "Memories-on-sea: Lake District – Maya Jaggi", The Guardian, 18 August 2008.
- "Madhur", Mygola.
- "About the Author", Anthills of the Savannah (Penguin Modern Classics), Amazon.
- Biographical notes, Newsweek magazine, 2 January 2012.
- Advisory board, Wasafiri.
- "Maya Jaggi. A Cultural Journalist on World Literature via Spain", New Spanish Books.
- Judges: 2013, The Caine Prize.
- Judges, The Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize: Arabic to English, 6 June 2011.
- Maya Jaggi, "Emerging Voices: Literature has liberated Africa’s authors", The Financial Times, 30 January 2015.
- "A Great Day", Renaissance One.
- Andrea Levy, "Made in Britain", The Guardian, 18 September 2004.
- Kevin Le Gendre, "Books: A great day for a family get together; Who are the movers and shakers in black British writing? And can they all fit on one staircase?", The Independent on Sunday, 17 October 2004.
- "The Strand Archive" (podcast), BBC World Service, 26 April 2011.
- Maya Jaggi biography at Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation. The Banipal Trust for Arab Literature.
- Contributor biography, Brick 76.
- "Personally Speaking: A Long Conversation with Stuart Hall (2009)", IMDb.
- "Personally Speaking – Clip – Stuart Hall on the Obama Phenomenon", YouTube.
- Maya Jaggi, "No thanks, ma'am", Our Daily Read, 15 June 2005.
- Maya Jaggi, "Lost and found in translation", The Guardian, 17 November 2007.
- "Media Awards Shortlist Announced", Amnesty International UK, 16 May 2001.
- Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize 2011, Vintage.
- "Blogger & Maths Prof Join Weird Fiction Writer as Judges of Warwick's £50,000 Writing Prize", News & Events, Warwick.
- "The Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2012", Wasafiri.
- "Prize winning cultural journalist and novelists announced as judges for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize", The Man Asian Literary Prize, 14 May 2012.
- "2012 Man Asian Literary Prize Shortlist Announcement. Dr. Maya Jaggi, Chair Judge of the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize, announces the shortlist via video conference from Man Group offices in London and Hong Kong."
- "Maya Jaggi, Judge 2012, Cultural journalist and critic", The Caine Prize, 25 June 2012.
- "Impac prize judge Maya Jaggi: how we chose this year's winner", Books blog, The Guardian, 12 June 2014.
- "2014 Judging Panel", International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
- Maya Jaggi, "Yugonostalgia: Letter From Croatia", Literary Review.
- "Watch: Hwang Sun-mi with Maya Jaggi at LBF 2014", English PEN, 30 May 2014.
- "Highlights: Edinburgh Taster: Elias Khoury and Bahaa Taher", YouTube. Maya Jaggi moderating discussion at the Frontline Club.
- "Maya Jaggi", SI Leeds Literary Prize.
- Caroline Carpenter, "Big names turn out for Folio Prize Festival", The Bookseller, 5 December 2013.
- Boyd Tonkin, "And the winner is... just about everyone actually", The Independent, 18 May 1998.
- "Maya Jaggi | EMMA Awards" (1999), YouTube.
- "Race in the Media – The 2001 awards", The Guardian.