Life & Faith

The Permanent Resident

June 15, 2017

Our literature is not as diverse as our streets, schools, playgrounds and offices.


"I grew up in India and now I have Australian citizenship; and I feel like I’m Indian and Australian, I don’t feel like I have to choose. I feel I am a migrant, but I also feel at home here."

Roanna Gonsalves is the author of The Permanent Resident, a collection of short stories about the migrant experience in Australia - from a specific point of view. Her characters, like herself, are all women from a Goan Catholic background.

"For a lot of Goan Catholics, the faith is something to hold onto in a world where race and class are an oppression. The church becomes a centre for finding worth. So a lot of Goans will join the choir in the local church – my dad sings at the Cathedral choir here – join St Vincent de Paul, go and help out in any way they can … so, that idea of giving back."

In this episode, Gonsalves unpacks the complexities of this Goan Catholic identity, and how it has shaped her life and work.

"We don’t hear as many stories about the diversity of Australian life as we should. Our literature, our arts, are not as diverse as our streets and our schools and our playgrounds and our offices."


Roanna Gonsalves appeared at the 2017 Sydney Writers’ Festival. Her book, The Permanent Resident, is available in bookstores and online:

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