Sejal Shah is an essayist, fiction writer, poet, and teacher of writing. The daughter of Gujarati parents who emigrated from India and Kenya to the United States, she grew up in western New York. Her essays, stories, poetry, and interviews appear widely in print and online including in Brevity; Conjunctions; Kenyon Review; The Literary Review; The Margins; Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America (Seal Press); and others.
Her story collection, How to Make Your Mother Cry, was a finalist for the 2017 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction from Sarabande Books; the 2017 Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose from Pleiades Press; and the 2016 The Ohio State University Press / The Journal Prize. Her nonfiction book, Things People Say: Essays, was a finalist for the 2017 and 2016 Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s Essay Collection Prize. Lidia Yuknavitch also chose this manuscript as a finalist for the 2016 Kore Press Memoir-in-Essays Prize.
She is the recipient of fellowships, residencies, and grants from The Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Blue Mountain Center, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Kundiman, the Millay Colony for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, New York University, Poets & Writers, the Ragdale Foundation, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
She holds a BA in English from Wellesley College and an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and teaches creative writing privately, as well as at the University of Rochester and at Writers & Books. She lives in Rochester, New York.