Sejal Shah - headshot

Photo credit: Preston Merchant

Sejal Shah is an essayist, fiction writer, poet, and teacher of writing. The daughter of Gujarati parents who immigrated to the US from India and Kenya, her essays, stories, poems, and interviews appear widely in print and online including in Brevity; Conjunctions; Kenyon Review; The Literary ReviewThe Margins; Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America (Seal Press); and AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle.

She is currently revising two manuscripts and querying agents and presses. 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 collection of essays, Things People Say, was named a finalist for the 2017 Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s Essay Collection Prize, the 2016 CSU Essay Collection Prize, and the 2016 Kore Press Memoir-in-Essays Prize (selected by Lidia Yuknavitch).

She is the recipient of fellowships, residencies, and grants from The Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary StudiesBlue Mountain Center, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Kenyon Review Writers WorkshopKundiman, 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. Her invited readings include The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, The Library of Congress, Smith College, and Yale University.

Sejal holds a BA in English from Wellesley College and an MFA in English / Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Currently, she teaches at the University of Rochester; at Writers & Books (a community-based literary center in Rochester); and privately. She lives with her husband, six plants, and never enough books in Rochester, New York.

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