Sejal Shah is a fiction writer, essayist, and teacher of writing. The daughter of Gujarati parents who immigrated to US from India and Kenya, her essays, stories, interviews, and poetry have appeared 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 AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle.
Her recent book manuscripts (fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid) have been named finalists for the 2017 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction from Sarabande Books (selected by Paul Yoon); the 2017 Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s Essay Collection Prize (selected by Renee Gladman); the 2017 Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose from Pleiades Press (selected by Jenny Boully); the 2016 Kore Press Memoir-in-Essays Prize (selected by Lidia Yuknavitch), as well as the 2016 The Ohio State University Press / The Journal Non / Fiction Prize (selected by Michelle Herman). She is presently looking for a publisher for these projects.
She is the recipient of fellowships, residencies, and grants from Blue Mountain Center, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, 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. Her invited readings include Yale University, The Library of Congress, and Poets House.
Sejal earned her BA in English at Wellesley and her MFA in English / Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She mentors emerging writers and leads workshops with a focus on nonfiction, memoir, short fiction, and the lyric essay. She teaches at the University of Rochester and at Writers & Books, a center offering community-based workshops. Previously, she was Assistant Professor of English at Marymount Manhattan College, and held writer-in-residence positions at Luther College and Mount Holyoke College.
In 2017, she will be a Peter Taylor Fellow at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, a featured reader at the Smithsonian Asian American Literature Festival, and a resident artist at The Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Minnesota. She lives in Rochester, New York.