Reetika Vazirani (1962–2003) was born in India and raised in Maryland. Her first book, White Elephants, was selected by Marilyn Hacker for the Barnard New Women Poets Prize. She was educated at Wellesley College and the University of Virginia. Vazirani received much recognition for her poetry, including the Discovery/The Nation Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in The Best American Poetry. World Hotel received the 2003 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award as an outstanding contribution to the understanding of racism and the appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.