“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.
Judges’ Comments, NSW Premier’s Literary Award, Multicultural Prize Shortlist 2018
Immigration and multiculturalism are woven into the fabric of Australia, and have been for centuries, yet we’re often still starved when it comes to raw, honest and relatable stories about migrant experiences. With The Permanent Resident, Roanna Gonsalves has achieved something remarkable: a brilliant, entertaining and moving exploration of migrant life that, despite focusing on one migrant community, manages to tell universal truths.
Across 16 short accomplished stories Gonsalves tackles racism, marriage, family, friendship, work and more. The superbly written narratives tell of the hardships of migration, but do so using characters and stories that still remain largely unexplored and in many instances taboo. Not only do the stories invite us to relate individually to the characters Gonsalves has created, but they force us to interrogate what Australia really means to those of us who live in it in today.
“On occasion, this combination of specific detail, confident minimal action, intimate perspective, defamiliarised locale, and a penchant for the mot juste matches Alice Munro at her best.” David Thomas Henry Wright, Verity La, 19 September 2017.
“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 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, that has quickly found a place on a number of lists of must-read Australian books. 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 features on a number of lists of must-read books, such as:
- BBC Australian Writers to Watch by broadcaster Kate Evans http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b094s2sv
- 100 Must-Read Australian Books, by Jen Sherman https://bookriot.com/2017/06/09/100-must-read-australian-books/https://bookriot.com/2017/06/09/100-must-read-australian-books/
- Asian Australian Writers, by Pencilled In http://pencilled.in/suggested-reading/
- 50 Great Reads by Australian Women in 2016, by Readings Australia https://www.readings.com.au/news/50-great-reads-by-australian-women-in-2016
- The Australian Books of the Year, named by award-winning writer Mireille Juchau, and by writer-broadcaster Sunil Badami http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/books-of-the-year-colson-whitehead-helen-garner-camus/news-story/67bc485a23ed13ecf1a4ad4e866f13b8
- Aussie Authors of Colour Reading List for 2016, by Gilbert Caluya http://gilbertcaluya.com/political-prattlings/2017/1/4/aussie-authors-of-colour-reading-list-for-2016
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.
Roanna has been invited to speak and write about the selfie, particularly her idea of the literary selfie of a country. Read more about her work on literary selfies here.
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.
She can be found at roannagonsalves.com.au and on Twitter @roannagonsalves
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