Rao, a novelist and writer of stories, moved to the United States from India at the age of seven. Her undergraduate training in biomedical engineering was followed by a law degree, and for many years, she worked as a legal advocate for victims of domestic violence, mainly immigrant women. Her short story collection, An Unrestored Woman (Flatiron Books/Macmillian), focuses on the lives of women and children during the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. Her novel, Girls Burn Brighter (Flatiron Books/Macmillan), is a fictional account of poor girls from contemporary India, journeying to the US to find each other after one of them is trafficked.
Rao received her MFA from San Francisco State University. She is the winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction and the recipient of a 2015 Elizabeth P. George Foundation Fellowship. She has twice been invited to the Hedgebrook writer-in-residence program and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. TC Boyle selected her short fiction for the 2015 Best American Short Stories. In a review of her work for the Los Angeles Times, Bethanne Patrick observed, “Shobha Rao writes cleanly and eloquently about women who, without their brightness, might have been left to die in their beds. She writes them into life, into existence, into the light of day.”
We’re very excited to welcome her to teach with us in the Fall 2018.