Sushma Joshi

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Sushma Joshi
Born (1973-05-26) May 26, 1973 (age 43)
Kathmandu, Nepal
Occupation Writer filmmaker
Nationality Nepali
Genre Fiction and non-fiction
Notable works End of the World

Sushma Joshi (Nepali: सुष्मा जोशी) (born May 26, 1973) is a Nepali writer and filmmaker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Her fiction and non-fiction deal with Nepal's civil conflict, as well as stories of globalization, migration and diaspora.

End of the World, her book of short stories, was long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award[1] in 2009. "The Prediction", another book of short stories that bring together stories of tradition and modernity, was published in 2013. Art Matters, a book of essays about contemporary art, was supported by the Alliance Française de Katmandou. She also co-edited "New Nepal, New Voices," an anthology of short stories by Nepali writers, published by Rupa.

Her non-fiction reportage has appeared in Utne Reader, Ms. magazine, Z Net, The Irrawaddy, Himal Southasian, Bertelsmann Future Challenges, The Kathmandu Post, Nation Weekly magazine and other publications.

Work History[edit]

From 1998 to 2000, Joshi worked with the Harvard School of Public Health [2] to implement the Global Reproductive Health Forum, a health and rights program, in South Asia. She travelled to Mumbai, Delhi and Dacca to bring together a broad coalition of partners in this reproductive health and rights network. She also started re/productions, a journal on health and rights, during this time. Their research was catalogued in a digital library and handed over to SNDT Women's University,[3] Mumbai. Bol!, a list-serv with 600 activists and professionals working in health and rights, was handed over to the Center for Women and Development in Delhi.

In 2004, Joshi joined as staff writer at the newly formed Nation Weekly Magazine,[4] a political news weekly, in Kathmandu.

She also consulted for the UNDP's Access to Justice research program from October 2004, during the height of the civil conflict. As part of a 6-member team, Joshi went to different areas of Nepal to document stories about human rights violations and the erosion of formal and informal justice systems.

In 2005, she received a fellowship in research and writing[5] from the MacArthur Foundation , and travelled to Mumbai to document the situation of Nepali women who were rescued and rehabilitated from the redlight districts in homes. In 2006, she made several short films in the directing program at the New York Film Academy in Paris, including "The Escape" which deals with the human rights violations which occurred during the People's War in Nepal. This film was accepted to the Berlinale Film Festival's Talent Campus, which was later renamed the Berlinale Talents, in 2007. She also wrote her play "I Killed My Best Friend's Father," about two girls and their friendship post-conflict, in 2007.

In 2008, she joined Chemonics to work in the Nepal Transition Initiative [6] as a media officer, where she became engaged in a broad number of media projects related to the transition from conflict to peace. In 2009, she also headed a project for six months to train 20 journalists from rural newspapers to write on issues of Nepal's new Constitution. In 2010, she joined the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kathmandu, where she spent the year working on the Nepal conflict report [7] about the violations committed during the conflict with a research team. Between 2008-2010, she also consulted for the World Bank on their countrywide assistance strategy, traveling with the heads of World Bank, DFID and ADB to different locations to document the feedback received from local participants during the meetings. In 2011, she received a fellowship from the Asian Scholarship Foundation in Thailand to conduct research on the Gorkhali diaspora in Myanmar and Thailand.

Since 2012, she works as a freelance journalist, and has also started her own media and publishing house Sansar Media.


Joshi received a writer fellowship to attend the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in 2000. In 2005, she received a research and writing fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation. She was awarded a residency at the Bellagio Center, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, in Bellagio, Italy, in 2006. Joshi was a featured writer at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in 2009. In 2011, she was an Asia fellow and traveled to Thailand and Burma to do research on a book about Nepali migrants, with support from the Asian Scholarship Foundation. She has also received fellowships from the Toyota Foundation, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, as well as a seed fund from the Hubert Bals Fund in the Netherlands.

Joshi was a jury member of the Indigenous Film Festival in Nepal in 2009. She was also a member of a three-judge panel for the film competition on global warming sponsored by the British Council and Department for International Development in Kathmandu in 2010.


Her play, I Killed My Best Friend's Father, about two teenagers who survive the civil conflict in Nepal, was stage-read at the Arcola Theatre in London as part of the Kali TalkBack Festival[8] on December 8, 2012.


Sound of Silence (1997) her first documentary, was screened at the New Asian Currents[9] at the Yamagata Documentary Film Festival. "Water" (2000) was screened on the Q and A with Riz Khan on CNN International, and the UN World Water Forum in Kyoto. The Escape (2006), a short about a teacher targeted by rebels, was accepted to the Berlinale Talent Campus. WATER has also been screened at Flickerfest Film Festival in Sydney, Vancouver Nepali Film Festival, Himalayan Film Festival in London and others. In 2014, Joshi made "Supportive Men", which shows the story of young men working to share housework and cooking responsibilities in a remote Dalit community in Southern Nepal. The film was made for CARE Nepal, Norway, Austria and USA. In 2014, she also consulted and researched for the script of "Singha Durbar," a fictional TV series featuring a female prime minister, produced by Search for Common Ground.


In 2004, Joshi had a solo exhibit of her paintings at Gallery Nine. The exhibit was of 26 figurative paintings depicting the state of Nepal during the civil conflict.

Joshi's multimedia installation titled Jumla: A cyberphoto installation was accepted to the Eighth International Symposium of Electronic Art, or ISEA International at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1997.

Creative history[edit]

Education and influences[edit]

Joshi was born and grew up in Kathmandu. From age 8 to 12, she studied in Dowhill School, Kurseong, in the district of Darjeeling. She finished her education at Mahendra Bhawan and Siddhartha Vanasthali High School in Kathmandu.

Joshi graduated from Brown University in the USA in 1996 with a BA in international relations. She also took workshops in fiction, autobiography and poetry, and classes in documentary production with the artist Tony Cokes. From 1999–2002, she was in graduate school at the New School of Social Research in New York, where she received an MA in anthropology. During the summers, she attended The Breadloaf School of English at Middlebury College, Vermont, and received another MA in English Literature in 2005. At Bread Loaf, she studied playwriting with the 1998–1999 Obie Award winning playwright Dare Clubb, as well as theatre directing and acting with Alan and Carol MacVey.

Selected published articles and stories[edit]

External Reports[edit]

  • [1] Access to Justice Assessments in the Asia Pacific: A Review of Experiences and Tools from the Region, UNDP, 2012
  • [2] Nepal Conflict Report: Executive Summary, OHCHR, 2012
  • [3] Nepalis in Diaspora, Oxford University, June 2012
  • [4] Evidence for Education Policy and Planning: Keeping Children at the Center, UNICEF, 2009
  • [5] Office of Transitional Initiatives/OTI Nepal Program Evaluation (2006-2009)
  • [6] Nation Weekly magazine at Digital Himalaya
  • [7] Archive of the Nation Weekly Magazine at Digital Himalaya (2004-2005)
  • [8] International Association for the Study of Forced Migration, 2004

Festivals, Conferences, Awards[edit]

  • [9] Kali TalkBack Festival, London, 2012
  • [10] Writers panel at SDPI's Redefining Paradigms of Development in South Asia, Islamabad, 2011
  • [11] Frank O Connor International Short Story Award (longlist), 2009
  • [12] Ubud Readers and Writers Festival, Bali, 2009
  • [13] Berlinale Talent Campus, Berlin, 2007
  • [14] New Asian Currents Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Yamagata, 1997