Akhil Sharma (born July 22, 1971) is an Indian-American author.
Born in Delhi, India, he immigrated to the United States when he was eight, and grew up in Edison, New Jersey. Sharma studied at Princeton University, where he earned his B.A. in public policy at the Woodrow Wilson School. While there, he also studied under a succession of notable writers, including Russell Banks, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Auster, John McPhee, and Tony Kushner. He then won a Stegner Fellowship to the writing program at Stanford, where he won several O. Henry Prizes. He then attempted to become a screenwriter, but, disappointed with his fortunes, left to attend Harvard Law School.
Sharma is the author of An Obedient Father, for which he won the 2001 PEN/Hemingway Award and the 2001 Whiting Writers' Award. He has also published stories in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Quarterly, Fiction, the Best American Short Stories anthology, and the O. Henry Award Winners anthology. His short story "Cosmopolitan" was anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 1998, and was also made into an acclaimed 2003 film of the same name, which has appeared on the PBS series Independent Lens.
Sharma's second novel, Family Life, was published by W. W. Norton & Company in the U.S. and Faber & Faber in the U.K. in April 2014. ISBN 978-0393060058. Family Life will also be published by in translation by Editions Olivier Cohen in France, Einaudi in Italy, Anagrama in Spain, and De Bezige Bij in Holland. The New York Times described the book as " deeply unnerving and gorgeously tender at its core.". David Sedaris noted that "[e]very page is alive and surprising, proof of [Sharma’s] huge, unique talent." Sharma wrote about the 13 years it took to write Family Life in an essay onThe New Yorker's website.
Sharma is an assistant professor in the creative writing MFA program at Rutgers University-Newark.
- The Best American Short Stories 1998
- "The Repercussions" by Sonali Deraniyagala, New York Time Book Review, p. 1, April 6, 2014
- "A Novel Like a Rocket", The New Yorker, April 7, 2014 http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2014/04/akhil-sharma-on-writing-family-life.html, "