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Roanna Gonsalves

Roanna Gonsalves is the 2018 winner of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Multicultural NSW category for her work, The Permanent Resident.

Roanna came to Sydney as an international student from India. Her acclaimed short story collection The Permanent Resident (UWAP) is longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award for first time published authors 2018. It is on several lists of must-read books, and on the syllabi of courses at a number of universities. Her writing has been compared to the work of Alice Munro and Jhumpa Lahiri. Roanna is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award, and is co-founder and co-editor of Southern Crossings. She has a PhD from the University of New South Wales. 

This is her story.


How did you became a writer?

I was born and brought up in Mumbai, India. I started writing when I was a little child encouraged by my family, and my teachers. I think I was a reader first, which helped me become a writer.


What does multiculturalism mean to you?

Your culture as your strength, your accent as your link to your history and your biology,  your language as your lifeline, other cultures and languages as ways to understand things differently, not better or worse, just a different way of soaking up the universe. This is multiculturalism for me.


How does your book The Permanent Resident reflect on Australia’s multicultural story?

The Permanent Resident is about how we live in contemporary Australia, with our joys and our hurts, our wounds and our wizardry, our laughter, our remembering, our forgetting.

It is focussed on a very particular community, Indian women from Mumbai living in Sydney, but it tries to chronicle a larger story of what it means to be an outsider, to be human in Australia today.


The Permanent Resident is published in India and the rest of South Asia as Sunita De Souza Goes to Sydney (Speaking Tiger) See more at