Roanna Gonsalves

“The Permanent Resident is a brilliant fashioning of newness in the Australian literary landscape.”

MICHELLE DE KRETSER,  award-winning Australian author of Questions Of Travel, Winner of the Miles Franklin Award and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Excerpt from Launch Speech, Sydney, 9 November 2016.


Roanna Gonsalves came to Australia as an international student from India. She is the author of The Permanent Resident, an acclaimed collection of short fiction published by UWAP in November 2016. According to the award-winning Australian writer Michelle De Kretser, The Permanent Resident is “a brilliant fashioning of newness in the Australian literary landscape”. Roanna has been called “a bold Australian voice” who “writes like a minx, full of mischief”, “like Jhumpa Lahiri but with a playful approach”.

The Permanent Resident is on the syllabus of courses at a number of Australian universities and is being studied in the fields of Australian Literature, Postcolonial Literatures, and Creative Writing.

Her series of radio documentaries, On the tip of a billion tongues, commissioned and broadcast by Earshot, ABC RN, is an acerbic socio-political portrayal of contemporary India through its multilingual writers. She is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award, and is co-founder co-editor of Southern Crossings.

She has a PhD from the University of New South Wales, and has been facilitating and teaching creative writing workshops for all ages within communities as well as at schools and in the university sector for many years. Her research interests are in the sociology of the arts, social media, creativity studies, and postcolonial literatures.

Roanna currently teaches in the Creative Writing and Media Studies streams at UNSW at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level, and in the Postcolonial Literatures unit at Western Sydney University.

She can be found at and on Twitter @roannagonsalves, and also at or @roannagonsalves

She is represented by Benython Oldfield at Zeitgeist Media




“Gonsalves is a bold Indian-Australian voice that laudably claims a space in the Australian literary landscape.” MEETA CHATTERJEE, The Weekend Australian, Book Review, 21 January 2017.

“In story after story Gonsalves emerges as the master of the original metaphor, the artist of analogy, so that the familiar becomes almost exotic, the cultural peculiarity becomes the quirkiness next door…Her points of reference are vast – the topography of Dubai, transplant surgery, societal niceties, Biblical references – everything is grist to her mill…She repeats the virtuoso literary performance again and again.” CAROL ANDRADE, The Examiner, 22-28 April 2017—april-22—april-28-2017/15bookreview-thepermanentresident

“Roanna Gonsalves writes like a minx, full of mischief….The author has this ability to convey something ruthless with much levity. Her text fools you, melts your eyes with a light touch that charms with its delicious syntax, as the text tackles rough topics like bullying, domestic violence, sleaze, anguish, murder … without alienating the reader…Gonsalves interplays language with text in a kind of literary writing that is both captivating and unsettling, perhaps what theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes had in mind when he wrote The pleasure of the text (1975).” EUGEN BACON, Bukker Tillibul, May 2017

“Roanna’s stories are marked by two really important things. One is that they’re intensely human stories. You can recognise the characters even though they are often Indians living under conditions of voluntary exile I call it….But also importantly for me in the stories, there are lots of interesting moments with language, so it’s not just about people but it’s certain phrases…which suddenly illuminate a whole paragraph of prose, that’s really important to me. So through reading this book I would constantly have a pencil in my hand and I would be making little exclamation marks at the corners of the margins. I would advise you all to get hold of a copy of The Permanent Resident and get hold of your own pencils and enjoy her writing.” JERRY PINTO, author of Em and the Big Hoom, winner of the Wyndham Campbell Prize 2016. Excerpt from launch speech, Goa Arts & Literature Festival, 8 December 2016.

“Roanna Gonsalves remakes ‘familiar’ Australian stories from a migrant perspective, adding considerable wit and humour to the expectations imbedded in the search for ‘permanent residency’.” KATE EVANS,  Books & Arts, & Books Plus, ABC RN,  4 December 2016, and other repeat broadcasts.

“Gonsalves’s acute sense of paradox, her willingness to be playful and her outstanding ability to capture the moment with devastating bluntness is tempered with irony and understanding. With skill she motivates our affection and compassion for her characters, their dilemmas, their weaknesses and their efforts to demonstrate their success and superiority over their compatriots through flaunting their material possessions.” SUZANNE MARKS, Newtown Review of Books, 31 January 2017

 “Gonsalves’s observations are particularly sharp, even wickedly brilliant, when she turns her gaze toward a community she is arguably familiar with…” ANU KUMAR, Book Review


“Many of her stories reminded me of Jhumpa Lahiri’s fiction about Indian migrants in the USA, but Gonsalves takes a more playful and humorous approach.”  ANNIE CONDON, Readings Hawthorn

“The Permanent Resident comprises 16 stories which display Gonsalves’s immense range and sensitivity in negotiating the uneven contours of human relationships…Her felicity with language is one of the major strengths of the book…This is a reassuring debut of a very compassionate new voice.” KUNAL RAY, Biblio: A Review of Books, Jan-March 2017