Shumona Sinha

Shumona Sinha, other spelling Sumana Sinha; (Bengali: সুমনা সিনহা, Calcutta, 27 June 1973) is a French writer from West Bengal, India, who lives in Paris.[1] Her harsh, but multilayered poetical literary reckoning with France's asylum system, made her famous overnight.[2]

In her interviews for the French media, Shumona Sinha claims that her homeland is no longer India, nor even France, but the French language.


In 1990, she received Bengali's Best Young Poet Award, and moved to Paris in 2001. She has a M-Phil in French language and literature from the Sorbonne University. In 2008 she published her first novel Fenêtre sur l'abîme. She has translated and published several anthologies of Bengali and French poetry together with her ex-husband, the writer Lionel Ray.[3]

In 2011, her second novel, Assommons les pauvres !, was published at Éditions de l'Olivier and was acclaimed by the critics. She got the Prix Valery-Larbaud 2012, the Prix Populiste in 2011, Internationaler Literaturpreis HKW (2016), was in the short list of the Prix Renaudot, had its title inspired by the eponymous poem in prose of Charles Baudelaire Assommons les Pauvres !. The central character/narrator of this novel, with a strong resemblance to Sinha herself, was brutally confronted by the misery, both material and intellectual, of her fellow people, migrating in Europe for a better life.

The novel has become a part of scholarly programs to discuss the questions on identity, exile, writing as a woman, writing in a foreign language, the relationship between the literature and the politics, at the Notre Dame University at Chicago, course conducted by Alison Rice, at the American University in Paris by Anne-Marie Picard and at Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales by Tirthankar Chanda.[4][5]

In her third novel Calcutta, published in January 2014, Shumona Sinha goes down the memory lane of a Bengali family to describe the violent political history of West Bengal and is rewarded by the Grand Prix du Roman de la Société des Gens de Lettres and Prix du Rayonnement de la langue et de la littérature françaises de L'Académie française.[6][7][8]

Her fourth novel "Apatride"/Stateless, published in January 2017, is a parallèle portrait of two Bengali women, one living in a village near Calcutta, caught up in a peasant insurrection and a romantic misadventure with her cousin, causing her perish; the other one living in Paris, in a post-CharlieHebdo society, fragmented, where prevails racism of all the colors.

Books of Shumona Sinha have been translated into German, Italian, Hungarian and Arab; English translation of "Calcutta" is published by SSP, Delhi, November 2019.


  • Fenêtre sur l'abîme; 2008, Éditions de La Difference
  • Assommons les pauvres !; 2011, Éditions de l'Olivier
  • Calcutta, 2014; Éditions de l'Olivier
  • Apatride, 2017; Éditions de l'Olivier

Award and distinctionsEdit


  1. ^ "Shumona Sinha et la trahison de soi" (in French). Le Monde. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  2. ^ Shumona Sinha im Gespräch «Im Text gibt es keine Kompromisse». Accessed 30 July 2016 (German)
  3. ^ Biography. Accessed 30 July 2016
  4. ^ "Shumona Sinha / Maison des écrivains et de la littérature". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Assumons Les Pauvre" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Le prix Larbaud remis à Shumona Sinha" (in French). L'EXPRESS. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  7. ^ Banerjee, Sudeshna (3 January 2015). "French honour for city girl". The Telegraph. India. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Writer Shumona Sinha's Grand Success Contributing to French Literature" (in Bengali). Youtuble. Retrieved 30 July 2016.

External linksEdit