Padma Viswanathan

Padma Viswanathan

Assoc Professor

J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences


Phone: 479-575-4801

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Padma Viswanathan holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. Padma Viswanathan’s first novel, The Toss of a Lemon, traced sixty years in the lives of an Indian widow and her gay manservant. It was published in eight countries, and was a finalist for the Commonwealth (Regional) First Book Prize, the First Novel Prize and the Pen Center USA Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The Ever After of Ashwin Rao, was published in four countries and was a finalist for The Scotiabank Giller Prize. In this book, a cranky Indian psychologist comes to Canada to do what he calls a 'study of comparative grief,' tracing the effects of a 1985 jet bombing. Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper called it “the best kind of political novel: the kind that doesn’t force you to constantly notice it’s a political novel…” Padma also writes plays, short stories, personal essays and cultural journalism. Her translation of the novel St. Bernardo, by the late, lauded Brazilian novelist Graciliano Ramos, is forthcoming from New York Review Books, and she is currently writing a nonfiction book. In 2017, she was awarded the Porter Prize, given annually to an Arkansas writer in recognition of a subsantial body of work.

International Fiction, Fiction Writing

M.A. Johns Hopkins

M.F.A. University of Arizona


  • Naïve Art (short stories) In Progress
  • Alias Delia George (nonfiction) In Progess
  • The Ever After of Ashwin RaoRandom House, Canada, 2014; Westland, India. 2015. University of Western Australia, Australia and New Zealand, 2015. Counterpoint, USA, 2015. (audiobook), 2017. 
  • The Toss of a LemonRandom House, Canada, 2008; Harcourt, USA, 2008; University of Western Australia, Australia and New Zealand, 2009; Westland, India, 2009; Garzanti, Italy, 2009; Mistral, Holland, 2009; Edebé, Spain, 2011; Pegasus, Turkey, forthcoming.

Short Fiction

  • External Inquiry,” Granta (Online) 2017 
  • Carnival Week,”, 2010
  • The Wild Unknown Country,” In Her Mother’s Ashes 3: Stories by South Asian Women in Canada and the U.S., Nurjehan Aziz, Ed., TSAR Publications, Toronto, ON, 2009      
  • The Postino’s Familiar,” Malahat Review, Victoria, BC, 2007
  • Transitory Cities,” Boston Review, Boston, MA, 2007      
  • Dharnakarna,” New Letters, Kansas City, MO, 2007        
  • Naïve Art,” Subtropics, Gainesville, FL, 2007       
  • The Barber Lover,” AGNI Online, Boston, MA, 2006; Anthologized in The New Anthem: The Subcontinent in its own Words, Ahmede Hussain, Ed., Tranquebar, India, 2009  

Translations (from the Portuguese)

  • St. Bernardo, a novel by Graciliano Ramos, forthcoming, New York Review Books Classics, 2019
  • The Move,” excerpt of Vidas Secas by Graciliano Ramos, Two Lines, San Francisco, CA, 2012
  • The Blue Women” by Adelice Souza, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Tempe, AZ, 2009    


  • Bubble Weary in Trump’s America,” Literary Review of Canada, December, 2016  
  • “Fear of Flying,” The Millions (Online), 2015
  • Passengers,” Bare Magazine (travel article) 2015
  • A Hunger for the World,” Event Magazine, 2015
  • I’m sorry…” Sent to subscribers of The Rumpus Letters in the Mail , 2012; Reprinted: 2012 Best American Non-Required Reading, McSweeney’s, San Francisco, CA        
  • Local Gods, ” Elle Canada, 2010; Anthologized: The Rumpus Women, The Rumpus, San Francisco, CA, 2010
  • Time Regained,” Chatelaine Magazine, 2010     
  • A Second Class Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste,” The Rumpus (Online), 2009

Play Productions 

  • By Air, By Water, By Wood (short), Frog & Nightgown Prod., Toronto, ON, 1999, 2001
  • Disco Does Not Suck (radio), CBC National & CBC Québec, 1999, 2001           
  • House of Sacred Cows (full-length), Northern Light Theatre, Edmonton, AB, 1997          

Play Publications

  • By Air, by Water, by Wood, in South Asian Review, Johnstown, PA, 2008               
  • House of Sacred Cows, in EthnicitiesPlays from the New West, NeWest Press, Edmonton, AB, 1998  
  • House of Sacred Cows (excerpt) in Short Spells, Playwrights' Union Canada, Toronto, ON

Articles and Reviews

  • 2001 to present: More than sixty book reviews, articles, and features on culture and travel in The Rumpus (Online), Books In CanadaElm Street Magazine, Montreal Review of Books, Islands Magazine,Book Magazine, Quill & Quire, The Montreal GazetteThe National Post  and others.

2017 recipient of the Porter Prize, given annually to an Arkansas writer in recognition of a subsantial body of work.

  • The Ever After of Ashwin Rao shortlisted for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize and longlisted for the Pat Conroy Prize for Southern Literature
  • Recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts USA, the Canada Council for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Arkansas Arts Council and others
  • Recipient of residencies from the Sacatar Foundation (Brazil), the MacDowell Colony, the Banff Center for the Arts, and others
  • Finalist, Pen Center USA Fiction Prize, 2009                  
  • Finalist, First Novel Prize, 2009                    
  • Finalist, Commonwealth Writers Prize (Regional) for Best First Book, 2009     
  • Winner, Boston Review 14th Annual Short-Story Contest, for “Transitory Cities”