Roanna Gonsalves is the author of The Permanent Resident (UWAP) published in India and South Asia as Sunita De Souza Goes To Sydney (Speaking Tiger Books). The book won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award Multicultural Prize 2018 and was longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award 2018. Roanna was born and brought up in Mumbai, India, and attended St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. She came to Australia as an international student in 1998. She was recently awarded the inaugural Varuna – Cove Park residency in Scotland, funded by The Bridge Awards. She currently serves on the Board of Writing NSW.

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 several lists of must-read books, is on the syllabi of courses and units at a number of Australian and international universities and is being studied in the fields of Australian Literature, Postcolonial Literatures, and Creative Writing.

Roanna’s 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. She has been facilitating and teaching creative writing workshops for all ages within communities, for literary festivals, 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 teaches in the fields of Creative Writing, Media Studies, and Literary Studies at Australian universities. She is currently a lecturer in Creative Writing at New York University, Sydney.

She can be found at roannagonsalves.com.au, and on Twitter @roannagonsalves.


  • PhD, UNSW
  • Graduate Diploma in Arts by Research in Social Science, UNSW, Australia (High Distinction)
  • M.A. in Professional Writing, UTS, Sydney, Australia
  • Diploma in Television Production, North Sydney, Australia
  • M.A. in English Literature, University of Bombay, India
  • B.A. in English Literature, St. Xavier’s College, University Of Bombay, India


Reviews and Interviews: Click here


  • Varuna – Cove Park residency, funded by the Bridge Awards, 2019
  • Bundanon Residency 2018-19
  • UNSW Copyright Agency Writer-in-Residence 2018
  • Winner, NSW Premier’s Literary Award Multicultural Prize 2018
  • Longlist, Dobbie Literary Award for a first time published author 2018
  • Australia Council for the Arts, Literature Board, Arts Grants for Individuals & Groups, May 2017
  • Dean’s Award for Programs that Enhance Learning (team award led by Christopher Kremmer for UniPollWatch at UNSW) 2017
  • School of the Arts & Media UNSW Research Grant 2016-17
  • Australian Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Postgraduate (Outgoing) Award 2013
  • Dean’s Student Leadership Award, Community category, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia 2012
  • Scholarship to attend Minor Cosmopolitanisms, Summer School, University of Potsdam, Germany, July 2012
  • Australian Writers Guild Award, Best Script, Community and Youth Theatre, 2011
  • Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) to undertake a PhD at UNSW. 2011
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Faculty Top Up Award for top-ranked applicants, to undertake a PhD, 2011
  • Varuna Writers Centre Fellowship 2011
  • Longlisted for the Australian/Vogel Literary Awards 2009
  • Vermont Studio Centre Artist’s Grant to attend 4 week writing residency at Vermont Studio Centre, USA (did not take up) 2010
  • Australia Council for the Arts Literature Board New Work Emerging Writer Grant: October 2008
  • Shortlisted for Varuna-Harper Collins Awards for Manuscript Development 2006
  • Varuna Writers Centre mentorship with Charlotte Wood: 2003
  • Varuna Writers Centre fellowship with Charlotte Wood: 2002


  • ‘Language, literature, lifeblood’. Keynote Address, Between the Covers, Emerging Writers’ Festival + Macquarie University, at the State Library of NSW, 21 March, 2019
  • ‘The stories we swallow’. Guest Speaker at Senator Mehreen Faruqi’s International Women’s Day Breakfast, 8 March, 2019
  • ‘Literary selfies’. Keynote, Society of Women Writers NSW, State Library of NSW, 13 February 2019
  • ‘Decoupling Artistic Excellence and Whiteness’.  Speech at ‘Voice, Agency, and Integrity – Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts’, the launch of the Beyond Tick Boxes report by Diversity Arts Australia, Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Friday, Oct 5, 2018. Read the edited version of the speech here.
  • ‘Finding George Jarvis’. Historian Robin Walsh and author Roanna Gonsalves will explore different approaches to finding the elusive figure of George Jarvis, Governor Macquarie’s Indian manservant. Parramatta Lecture Series, Tales From The East, a public exhibition by the National Trust of Australia, exploring the historical and contemporary links between India and New South Wales. UNE Parramatta Campus Lecture Theatre, Level 1, 232 Church Street, Parramatta.Saturday, August 18, 2018. Read a reworked version of the speech here.
  • ‘Literary selfies’. Keynote Address at the National Writers’ Conference, Emerging Writers’ Festival, Melbourne, 24 June, 2018. Read a version of the speech here.
  • ‘On writing through cultures, canons, Rushdie-fication’. Keynote Address at the Asia Pacific Writers & Translators Conference, Bali, October 2017
  • Keynote / Opening Address, Young Writers’ Showcase, Presbyterian Ladies College (PLC), Sydney, 22 August 2016






  • The Queen’s English: A public reading of the first draft of this new work was produced by Nautanki Theatre as part of the Dramasutra Project at Riverside, Parramatta, April 27, 2018
  • Merchants: A showing of some preliminary scenes, development commissioned by Mind’s Eye, Bell Shakespeare Company, Australia, November 2011
  • Yet to Ascertain The Nature Of The Crime, Melbourne Workers Theatre (November 2010, with Damien Millar, Raimondo Cortese and the company)  ***WINNER AUSTRALIAN WRITERS GUILD AWARD 2011***
  • Altered States: co-writer, a multimedia performance show, a collaboration between PACT Theatre, Sydney and Backbone Theatre, Brisbane, performed -Brisbane, 2003
  • Replicant Hotel: I co-wrote this multimedia performance show performed at PACT Theatre, Sydney, August 2000


  • Script consultant on the documentary  Sunshine and Shade, about Indian students in Australia, 2010-2012
  • Director, co-writer of Don’t Be Mean, an educational video (drama) for the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW, 2001
  • Various corporate videos as writer, director, assistant director, Dream Studio, Mumbai, India


  • Margaret Daymond, Roanna Gonsalves, Weishin Gui, Michael Griffiths, Madhu Krishnan, Christine Lorre-Johnston, Dougal Mcneill, Ira Raja, Giselle Rampaul, Paul Sharrad, Geraldine Skeete, Lynda Gichanda Spencer, Tina Steiner, Mark Williams; 2017, ‘XVIII New Literatures’. The Year’s Work In English Studies, Oxford Journals, Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/ywes/max022
  • Gonsalves, R 2015, ‘The Survival of the Friendliest: Contemporary Indian Publishing in English at the Frankfurt Book Fair’. Cultural Sociology 9(3), 425-446. Online 2015 doi: 10.1177/1749975515590244
  • Chan, J, Bruce, J, Gonsalves, R 2014/2015 ‘Seeking and Finding: Creative Processes of 21st Century Painters’, Poetics, 48:21-41. Online 2015 DOI:10.1016/j.poetic.2014.11. 001
  • Gonsalves, R 2011, ‘Multiculturalism and Mainstage Australian Theatre’. Journal of the European Association of Studies on Australia, Vol.2. No.2.
  • Gonsalves, R and Chan, J 2008, ‘Creating Fiction: Bourdieu’s theory, and Writing Practice’. TEXT, Vol 12. No. 1.



  • Gonsalves, R 2019, ‘Publishing and Nationhood: Negotiating the field of Indian writing in English’. In Dallas John Baker, Donna Lee Brien, Jen Webb (eds) Publishing and Culture, Cambridge Scholars, 104-120
  • Gonsalves, R 2016, ‘Trails of Breadcrumbs: On Being Indian and Australian’. In Pal. S (ed) Indo-Australian Relations: Retrospect and Prospects. Pinnacle Learning, 20-27
  • Gonsalves, R and Chan, J 2013 ‘Authorship and collaborative creativity in new media art ‘ in K Thomas and J Chan (eds) Handbook of Research on Creativity, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA 2011
  • Chan, J, Gonsalves, R and Metcalfe, N 2011 ‘Bridging the Two Cultures: The fragility of interdisciplinary creative collaboration’ in G Fischer and F Vassen (eds) Collective Creativity. Collaborative Work in the Sciences, Literature and the Arts. Rodopi Publishers, Amsterdam and New York.


  • Gonsalves, R 2015, ‘A Prime Minister, his selfies, and the narration of India in Australia: Narrating India Symposium, Globalisation and Governance Network, UNSW, October 30.
  • Gonsalves, R 2015, ‘The Survival of the Friendliest: Illuminating the process of learning to become a writer in contemporary India’. Seminar at the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra, 13 April.
  • Gonsalves, R 2015, ‘Learning to become a writer in contemporary India’. Seminar at School of the Arts and Media, UNSW. 31 March.
  • Gonsalves, R 2015, ‘Notes on becoming a writer in contemporary India (a historical focus), Moving Ideas: Methodological Challenges of Chasing Post-National Histories A Symposium with Professor Benjamin Zachariah, University of Heidelberg, Germany, School of Humanities and Languages, UNSW, 13 February.
  • Gonsalves, R 2014, ‘Creating the Creators: Stories about writers in contemporary India’. Seminar, School of the Arts and Media, UNSW, June 3.
  • Gonsalves, R 2012, ‘Borders and Shading and other minor matters’. Invited presentation at the Australia India Literatures International Forum (AILIF, UWS) at the State Library of New South Wales, September 3-6.
  • Gonsalves, R 2011, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of the Education Industry: Invited presentation at the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies, Public Seminar Series on India, University of Wollongong, October.
  • Gonsalves, R 2010, ‘Curry Munchers, Cricket and Crime: Invited presentation at UTS IOSARN Talking India Series, Sydney, November 11.


  • Gonsalves, R 2016, ‘The politics of friendliness in the literary field’. Paper presented at the Sociologies of Writing panel at the Australian Association of Writing Programs Conference, University of Canberra, November 2016.
  • Gonsalves, R 2016, ‘Selfie of a Country: A Reading of Michelle De Kretser’s Questions of Travel’. Paper presented at the Association for the Study of Australian Literature conference, UNSW Canberra, July.
  • Gonsalves, R 2015, ‘Writers vs. Money : Learning to become a writer in contemporary India’. Paper presented at the Australian Association of Writing Programs Conference, Swinburne University, November 2015.
  • Gonsalves, R 2015, ‘The Survival of the Friendliest: Learning to become a writer in contemporary India’. Paper presented at the Literary Networks Convention, University of Wollongong, 7 July, 2015.
  • Gonsalves, R 2014, ‘A “Literary” Literary Review’. Paper presented at The Idea of a Literary Review Symposium, Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia, UNSW, Australia, 2 October.
  • Gonsalves, R 2014, ‘A Trail of Breadcrumbs: Tales of the Indian Australian Spatial Imaginary’. Conference paper presented at the conference of the Indian Association for the Study of Australia, Thiruvananthapuram, India, 23-25 January.
  • Gonsalves, R 2013, ‘What is the Capital of Frankfurt? Indian Publishing at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012’. Conference paper at the Journey of the Book Conference, University of Pune, India, Sep 23-25.
  • Gonsalves, R 2013, ‘What is the Capital of Frankfurt? Indian Publishing at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012’, Conference paper at the European Sociological Association conference, Torino, Aug 28-31.
  • Gonsalves, R 2012, ‘All’s Fair at the Frankfurt Book Fair: An ethnography of a literary space’. Conference paper presented at the Cultural Studies Association of Australia conference, University of Sydney, December 4-6.
  • Gonsalves, R 2012, ‘Creating the Creators’. Conference presentation about the literary world at the Scenes of Reading Conference, University of Sydney, May 25-26.
  • Gonsalves, R 2008, ‘The Writer as Igneous or Sedimentary Rock: An exploration of the varied creative processes of novelists’. Conference paper at the Australian Association of Writing Programs Conference, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, November 27-29.
  • Gonsalves, R 2007, ‘Creating Fiction: Bourdieu’s Theory and Writing Practice: Conference paper at the Australian Association of Writing Programs Conference, University of Canberra, Canberra, November


  • Writing NSW
  • Australian Society of Authors (ASA)
  • Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP)
  • Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL)
  • Asia Pacific Writers & Translators (APWT)
  • Indian Association for the Study of Australia (IASA)
  • Postcolonial Studies Association
  • Varuna, The Writers’ House Alumni Association
  • South Asian Australian Writing Network


  • Board of Directors, Writing NSW
  • Co-founder, Co-editor: Southern Crossings: Reimagining Australia, South Asia, the world
  • Founder and moderator: South Asian Australian Writing Network (SAAWN)
  • Founder and Convenor: UNSWriting ‘Shut Up and Write
  • Rewilding the PhD: Invited presentation for the UNSW Graduate Research School’s induction for new HDR students, Semester 2, 2014.
  • Rewilding the PhD: Invited presentation for the UNSW Graduate Research School’s induction for new HDR students, Semester 1, 2014.
  • Organising Committee member of Gondwanalandings, the first scholarly and creative symposium of the Indian diaspora in Australia, 2013
  • Member of the Higher Degree Research Students Committee, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW, Australia, 2012
  • Served on the Organising Committee of Making Tracks, the annual postgraduate symposium of the School of the Arts and Media, FASS, UNSW, 2012
  • Member of the advisory group for Diversity in Australian Theater Alliance, 2010
  • Member of the Family Advisory Council, Children’s Hospital at Westmead, NSW, Australia, 2010


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