Born in London in 1956, Shashi Tharoor was educated in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi (BA in History, St. Stephen's College), and the United States (he got his PhD at the age of 22 from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University).
Since 1978, he has worked for the United Nations, serving with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, whose Singapore office he headed during the "boat people" crisis. Since October 1989, he has been a senior official at UN HQ in New York, where, until late 1996, he was responsible for peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia. From January 1997 to July 1998, he was executive assistant to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In July 1998, he was appointed director of communications and special projects in the office of the Secretary-General. In January 2001, he was appointed by the Secretary-General as interim head of the Dept. of Public Information.
Tharoor is the author of numerous articles, short stories and commentaries in Indian and Western publications, and the winner of several journalism and literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers' Prize.
His books include Reasons of State (1982) a scholarly study of Indian foreign policy; The Great Indian Novel (1989), a political satire; The Five-Dollar Smile & Other Stories (1990); and a second novel, Show Business (1992), which received a front-page accolade from The New York Times Book Review. Show Business has been made into a motion picture titled Bollywood. His previous book India: From Midnight to the Millennium was published on the 50th anniversary of India's independence.
On August 13, 2001 Penguin Books (India) published Tharoor's latest novel Riot. The US edition was published by Arcade on September 28, 2001.
In 1998, Shashi Tharoor was awarded the Excelsior Award for excellence in literature by the Association of Indians in America (AIA) and the Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP) and he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in International Affairs from the University of Puget Sound in May 2000.
He is an elected Fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities, and serves on the advisory boards of the Indo-American Arts Council in New York, and PlaNetFinance, the Paris-based Internet development agency.
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