Student & Graduate Profiles

Shalini Akhil - novelist and freelance writer

shalini photo


Deakin provided a very supportive and enriching environment.

Writing is both a private and public activity. Most writers – especially those that become published – need to negotiate this dichotomy very carefully. Shalini Akhil enjoys getting together with other writers and talking about ‘it’; it being writing in general.

This was one of the aspects of studying writing at Deakin which she particularly enjoyed. ‘Talking with staff about the industry was also very helpful,’ she says, ‘especially around the time of my first major publication.

On the other hand, the work of writing remains a solitary activity. ‘Talking about specific ideas or projects is a pretty good way of killing them,’ Shalini says. ‘It took me a while to realise this, especially after the release of my novel. So now I write ideas down and keep them to myself.

Since 2004 Shalini has had fiction published in Meanjin (http://www.meanjin.unimelb.edu.au/back_issue_2004_2.htm ) as well as in anthologies and online. She has also had non fiction appear in various magazines. Then there's the novel, The Bollywood Beauty, published by Penguin in 2005. This is an impressive track record, and there are other fiction works, long and short, ‘marinating’.

Shalini is passing on what she has learnt through a mentoring program conducted by Express Media. ‘I'm basically there to offer feedback, advice and encouragement on a project of their choosing. I'm looking forward to the challenge, as I'm sure it will be a great learning experience.

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