We introduce a strategic approach to synthesize covalntly cross-linked carbon nanotube (CNT)-polymer nanocomposites, which can be applied as a free-standing and flexible organic thermoelectric generator film. Esterification of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) to render PVA-COOH followed by an amide reaction with single-walled CNTs (SWCNTs) functionalized with amino groups (SWCNT-NH2) yielded a covalently grafted PVA/SWCNT composite film with an excellent dispersion of SWCNTs within the polymer matrix as confirmed using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. This amide reaction could be further optimized with the addition of a small amount of Triton (TM) X-100, which resulted in a better dispersion of SWCNT prior to the amide condensation reaction. Consequently, a covalently cross-linked PVA/SWCNT composite film showed better Seebeck coefficients than those of previously reported non-covalently, physically wrapped polymer/CNT composite films, resulting in a high power factor up to 275 mu W m(-1) K-2. Furthermore, a covalent amide-linking between PVA and SWCNT yielded a free-standing film (30 x 30 mm) with excellent flexibility and notable shelf stability as confirmed by negligible changes in thermoelectric parameters after bending test for 10 000 times with a bending radius of 2 mm and also shelf stability test in ambient condition without any passivation layer for 30 d.