Akhil Sharma: 2022 Writer in Residence

The Jackson Center for Creative Writing at Hollins University is excited to announce that fiction writer Akhil Sharma will serve as the Spring 2022 Louis D. Rubin Jr. Writer-in-Residence.

Akhil Sharma

Akhil Sharma was born in Delhi, India, in 1971 and immigrated to the United States in 1979. His most recent novel, Family Life, won the 2015 Folio Prize for Fiction. His first novel, An Obedient Father, set in Delhi during the period of Rajeev Gandhi’s assassination, won the PEN/Hemingway prize. He is also an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker and the Atlantic, among others. Sharma’s stories have been anthologized multiple times in Best American Short Stories and in The O. Henry Award Winners and have been collected in the critically acclaimed A Life of Adventure and Delights. He was included in Granta’s 2007 list of Best Young American novelists. Sharma is a Professor of Practice in the Duke University English Department, and he is the Spring 2022 Louis D. Rubin Writer-in-Residence at Hollins.

A taste of Sharma’s work

An excerpt from “You Are Happy?” published in The New Yorker

“The parties were segregated: there was the kitchen, where the women gathered, and there was the living room, where the men stood and talked about politics, investments. Lakshman’s mother was thirty-two, short, stocky, curly-haired. She would stir up trouble. Even when she said ordinary things, she sounded as if she doubted they were true. “You are happy?” she’d say to a woman as if the woman were overlooking something. The surprised person would then feel that she had to defend her happiness. The other women in the kitchen were not used to this kind of behavior. They would grow quiet and look at Lakshman’s mother as she stood silently, appearing pleased, and sipping her Scotch. The fact that his mother drank was itself unusual. Perhaps she did it to be different from the other women; perhaps she wanted to be like a man and therefore more important. When she’d got a little bit drunk, she’d go into the living room and stand among the men, drinking from a small glass and talking about stocks and the World Bank. The men treated her with condescension and irritation, not so much because she was a woman as because she was a woman pretending to know things that she did not know, and vanity and foolishness, which were tolerable in a man, were not tolerable in a woman.”