Ira Mathur: The Longest-Running Columnist and Acclaimed Author

Ira Mathur: Chronicle of an Influential Journalist and Author

In the vibrant world of journalism, few voices resonate with the clarity, depth, and influence of Ira Mathur. An Indian-born Trinidad and Tobago multimedia freelance journalist, Mathur has not only chronicled the pulse of nations but also illuminated the intricacies of human experiences across the globe.

With a career spanning decades, Ira Mathur’s dedication to truth, justice, and storytelling has solidified her as a formidable force in journalism.

Ira Mathur: A Multifaceted Background

Ira Mathur’s journey began in a unique cultural setting, as the offspring of a Muslim mother and a Hindu army officer. This rich tapestry of heritage provided her with a diverse perspective that would later influence her writing.

Educated in India and the UK, Mathur’s academic pursuits were as varied as her cultural background. She holds a liberal arts degree in Literature and Philosophy from Trent University in Canada, an LLB from the University of London, and a Master’s in International Journalism from City University, London.

A Pillar of the Sunday Guardian

Mathur’s voice has been a constant presence in the Sunday Guardian, where she has been the longest-running columnist since 1995. Over the years, she has penned more than eight hundred columns, covering a wide array of topics including politics, economics, social issues, health, and developmental concerns.

Ira Mathur’s writing, marked by incisive analysis and compelling narratives, has influenced public opinion and policy both locally and internationally.

Literary Acclaim and Recognition

In addition to her journalistic endeavors, Mathur has made significant contributions to literature. Her memoir, “Love the Dark Days,” published by Peepal Tree Press, won the prestigious 2023 OCM Bocas Prize for Non-Fiction and was shortlisted for the overall prize.

The UK Guardian also named it among the best biographies of 2022. The memoir, which tells the story of a girl born of mixed Hindu-Muslim parentage in post-independence India, is a poignant exploration of identity, heritage, and resilience.

A Commitment to Excellence in Journalism

Mathur’s commitment to journalism is reflected in her continuous pursuit of excellence. In 2021, she was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award for her unpublished novel “Touching Dr Simone.”

She has also gained diplomas in creative writing from the University of East Anglia/Guardian with Gillian Slovo and James Scudamore, and from The Faber Academy with Maggie Gee. Her dedication to honing her craft is evident in the quality and impact of her work.

Leadership and Advocacy

In October 2021, Mathur’s leadership qualities were recognized when she was appointed uncontested president of the Media Association of T&T (MATT) at its Annual General Meeting. Her role as president underscores her influence and commitment to advocating for media freedom and ethical journalism in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Love the Dark Days”: A Memoir of Impact

“Love the Dark Days” is not just a memoir; it is a testament to Mathur’s ability to weave personal narrative with broader social and historical contexts. Set in Trinidad and St. Lucia, the book follows the life of Poppet, a girl of mixed Hindu-Muslim parentage.

Through Poppet’s story, Mathur explores themes of identity, cultural conflict, and the search for belonging. The book’s acclaim and recognition by Speaking Tiger Books, an independent publishing company in New Delhi, further highlight its significance.

Awards and Honors

Mathur’s work has been recognized with numerous awards. In 1996, Ira Mathur received the Media Excellence Award from the Royal Bank/Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago for Best Commentary (Print).

In 2018, Ira Mathur won second prize in the Caribbean-based Small Axe Literary Competition for short fiction. Most recently, her memoir’s win at the 2023 OCM Bocas Prize for Non-Fiction is a testament to her enduring impact on literature and journalism.

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