Roanna Gonsalves


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Photo by Kathy Luu


Roanna Gonsalves is the author of The Permanent Resident (UWAP) published India and South Asia as Sunita De Souza Goes To Sydney (Speaking Tiger). She is the UNSW Copyright Agency Writer-in-Residence 2018, at the School of the Arts & Media. She was born and brought up in Mumbai, India. She came to Australia in 1998 as an international student, and currently lives in Sydney.

The Permanent Resident won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award Multicultural Prize 2018, and was longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award for first time published authors 2018.  Her writing has been compared to the work of Alice Munro and Jhumpa Lahiri. Her book has quickly found a place on a number of lists of must-read books, is on the syllabi of courses at several universities and is being studied in the fields of Australian Literature, Postcolonial Literatures, and Creative Writing. According to the award-winning Australian writer Michelle De Kretser, The Permanent Resident is “a brilliant fashioning of newness in the Australian literary landscape”. 

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 (UNSW) 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.

Judges’ Comments, NSW Premier’s Literary Award, Multicultural Prize 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


The Permanent Resident features on a number of lists of must-read books, such as:

Praise for The Permanent Resident: Click Here

Reviews of The Permanent Resident: Click here



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