A work of narrative nonfiction, Behind the Beautiful Forevers offers a vivid description of life in a slum of an Indian megacity. Based on Boo’s own reporting over almost four years, the book reveals the true stories of several residents of the Annawadi slum, a makeshift settlement near the Mumbai airport. Some of Boo’s characters are: teenager Abdul, a garbage sorter accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Asha, a women seeking power through political corruption, and Kalu, a scrap metal thief. The book’s numerous awards include The National Book Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Award, The American Academy of Arts & Letters Award in Literature, and others. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award and appeared on many top ten best books of the year and best books of the year lists including the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, O Magazine, and others.
A staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003, Katherine Boo became familiar with Mumbai through her husband Sunil Khilnani, who was born in India. In 2009 she wrote an article for the magazine about her experiences in Annawadi in response to the premiere of Slumdog Millionaire. Prior to joining The New Yorker, Boo worked as an investigative reporter for the Washington Post where she won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for her series on the treatment of intellectually disabled individuals in group homes. Boo graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College.
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