Poets & Writers

Reviewers & Critics

PARUL Sehgal is a senior editor and columnist at the New York Times Book Review. Previously she was books editor at NPR and a senior editor at Publishers Weekly. She grew up in Washington, D.C., Delhi, Manila, Budapest, and Montreal, where she studied political science at McGill University, and moved to New York City in 2005 to study fiction in the MFA program at Columbia University. In 2010 she was awarded the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. Her TED talk on literature, titled “An Ode to Envy,” has been viewed more than two million times since it was posted in the summer of 2013.

What was your path to becoming a literary critic?

Random and inevitable. I’ve written a bit about how books were a highly controlled substance in my childhood home. My mother had a marvelous, idiosyncratic library—lots of or Gore Vidal’s —stuffed in the waistband of my pants. Reading was an illicit, compulsive, and very private activity for me; discovering criticism—in the —opened up a whole world. I suddenly had interlocutors. It was thrilling.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from Poets & Writers

Poets & Writers3 min read
Timothy Brandoff
Age: Sixty. Residence: New York City. Book: Cornelius Sky (Kaylie Jones Books, August 2019), a novel about a doorman at a posh Manhattan apartment building who wanders the city streets in search of life’s higher meaning while confronting unlikely ang
Poets & Writers5 min readWellness
Narrative Medicine for Doctors
Toby Campbell under-stands that storytelling is good medicine. As an oncologist and associate professor in the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program at UW Health—the academic medical center and health system at the University of Wisconsi
Poets & Writers4 min readSociety
Truth to Power
A BOOK is a timeless medium that can’t be hacked, surveilled, or used to co-opt movements—as political and insurgent now as it was when the printing press was invented. But too often the stories we’re allowed to tell are dictated by an exclusionary c