Shashi Deshpande (Kannada: ಶಶಿ ದೇಶಪಾಂಡೆ) (born in 1938 in Dharwad, Karnataka, India), is an award-winning Indian novelist. She is the second daughter of famous Kannada dramatist and writer Sriranga. She was born in Karnataka and educated in Bombay (now Mumbai) and Bangalore. Deshpande has degrees in Economics and Law. In Mumbai, she studied journalism at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and worked for a couple of months as a journalist for the magazine 'Onlooker'.
She published her first collection of short stories in 1978,and her first novel, 'The Dark Holds No Terror', in 1980. She won the Sahitya Akademi Award for the novel That Long Silence in 1990 and the Padma Shri award in 2009. Her novel Shadow Play was shortlisted for The Hindu Literary Prize in 2014.
Shashi Deshpande has written four children’s books, a number of short stories, and nine novels, besides several perceptive essays, now available in a volume entitled Writing from the Margin and Other Essays.
On October 9, 2015, she resigned from her position on the Sahitya Akademi's general council and returned her Sahitya Akademi award. In doing so, she joined a broader protest by other writers against the Akademi's perceived inaction and silence on the murder of M. M. Kalburgi.