On the Couch with Roanna Gonsalves

OzAsia Roanna Gonsalves photo by Kathy LuuWho is Roanna Gonsalves?
I’m the award-winning author of The Permanent Resident and a four-part ABC RN series On the tip of a billion tongues – an acerbic portrayal of contemporary India through its multilingual writers. I serve on the Board of Writing NSW and I work as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at UNSW, Sydney.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I like where I am in life and the work that I do. I wouldn’t do anything differently. Maybe I’d try and be a better parent.

Who inspires you and why?
My parents and my children, and writers who have the courage to speak the truth despite the high stakes, despite huge risks to their lives.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would like to see the arts funded properly in accordance with the immense and incalculable value artists provide to society.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Blue Mountains for its serenity and lushness, its restorative sights and sounds and smells.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’d take them on a walk to Wentworth Falls or Katoomba to get a glimpse of the sublime in the landscape of the mountains.

What are you currently reading?
In preparation for my interview with Yashica Dutt, the author of Coming Out As Dalit, I’m re-reading parts of The Annihilation of Caste by Babasaheb Ambedkar and Emergence of a Slave Caste: Pulayas of Kerala by K. Sardamoni. I’ve just bought Wake: The Hidden History Of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall, illustrated by Hugo Martinez, via Amplify Books, and I can’t wait to read it.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m listening to The Bookshelf on ABC RN and the History Extra podcast via the BBC.

Happiness is?
Ten days off the grid in Blackheath with a freezer full of almond ice cream.

What does the future hold for you?
A lot of reading, a lot of writing, a lot of joy.

Roanna is a Guest Curator (with Benjamin Law) of In Other Words – OzAsia Festival’s forum for conversations about Australia’s engagement with Asia – which takes place in the Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide Festival Centre: 5 – 7 November 2021. For more information and full line-up, visit: www.ozasiafestival.com.au for details.

Image: Roanna Gonsalves – photo by Kathy Luu