Who wants to be a writer? That fickle friend who steals your life and fictionalises it? That flaneur, that callous teller of tales. Still, Selma Carvalho is a British-Asian writer, columnist and author of three books documenting the Goan presence in colonial British East Africa. Between 2011-2014, she headed the oral histories of British-Goans project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund UK. Her short fiction and poetry have been published by LitroLighthouse, online Mechanics’ Institute Review (Birkbeck) and Kingston University Press among others. Twelve of her works are published or forthcoming in anthologies. She has been placed in numerous short story competitions, including Fish and Bath, most notably as finalist for the London Short Story Prize 2017, as runner-up for the Dinesh Allirajah Prize (Comma Press & UCLan), and Dorset Fiction Award. She is the winner of the Leicester Writes Prize 2018. Her debut collection of short stories was longlisted for the prestigious SI Leeds Literary Prize 2018.

Of Indian origin, she grew up in Dubai, and spent many years in Minnesota, USA before moving to London in 2008, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter. Her works are as follows:



(Non-fiction book) Into the Diaspora Wilderness, published by Goa 1556; 2010, India. An account of the Goan diaspora spanning from East Africa to the Arabian Gulf, Britain and America.

(Non-Fiction) The Naked Liberal: an anthology of George Menezes’s writings, Cinnamon Teal, 2012Commissioned to edit and write biographical sections.

(Non-fiction book) A Railway Runs Through: Goans of British East Africa, 1865 – 1980, grant commissioned by the Heritage Lottery Fund, UK; 2014.

(Non-fiction book) Baker, Butcher, Doctor, Diplomat: Goan Pioneers of East Africa; an illustrated history, self published, London; 2016.  

(Fiction/Non-Fiction) The Brave New World of Goan Writing 2018 published by BombayKala Books. Editor and contributor.


Short Story top awards and literary anthology publications

'Sisterhood of Swans' debut collection of short stories longlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2018. Forthcoming in a single-author anthology by 2020.

Winner of the Leicester Writes Prize 2018. Published in the Leicester Writes Anthology 2018 by Dhalia Publishing UK.

Kitchen Sink Mutinies - Short-list finalist for the London Short Story Prize 2017. Published in the London Short Story - Kingston University Press 2017 anthology.

How Abu Baker Met his Third Wife - Runner-up Dinesh Allirajah Prize (Comma Press & UCLan). Published in the Cafe Stories Anthology (Comman Press, 2018).

Richard the English, Runner-up, Dorset Fiction Award 2018. Published online. Forthcoming in the Dorset Fiction Award Anthology.

This Space of Transience - Highly Commended for the Brighton Prize 2017. Published in the Brighton Prize/Rattle Tales Anthology 2017.

Some Kind of Weird and Wonderful - Editor's Pick Award, Fabula Press Contest Hong Kong 2017. Published in the Aestas 2017 Anthology by Fabula Press HongKong. 

'Landbound lullabies' Forthcoming in the Didcot Writers Anthology 2018.

Six Months of Winter - Published by Pensando Goa (a pan-Luso journal) in the Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies, 2018. translated from the English into Portuguese. 

Anatomy of Desire - Shortlisted for the Almond Press short story prize UK 2015 competition, UK and published in the anthology, Apocalyse Chronicles, 2016.


Other Contests wins and publications

The Blighted Harvest - Third place DNA-Out of Print Contest 2017. Published by DNA newspaper in print Dec 2017.

Home - Runner-up for the (pan-Asia) New Asian Writing Prize 2017. Published online by NAW.

To Everything There is a Season - Highly Commended, University of Winchester Writers Festival 2018.

What Do Streets Remember? - Shortlist finalist Exeter Writers Short Story Competition 2018.

Landbound Lullabies - longlisted for the prestigious Fish Publishing Award 2017/18. Among the top 180 from 1, 170 entries.

 How Do I Fit into you Now? - Longlisted for the Bath Short Story Award. Top 50 from 1,100 entries.

Black as a Crow - Long-listed for the Exeter Writers prize UK 2014/15.

Sharmini Subramaniam: Name Unknown - Long-listed for the TSS Short Story Quarterly Competition UK 2016.

Mand Goes to Church -  7th runner-up in the national DNA-Out of Print Short Story Contest India 2016. Published by Out of Print journal.

The Grief Register - Longlisted for the Exeter Writer's Prize UK, 2017.

The Grief Register - Longlisted for the Strands International Short Story Prize 2017. 

(Flash Fiction) Magdalena Finds the Body - Longlisted for the Brilliant Flash Fiction Contest 2017.

Tobias and Florence - Longlisted by Segora Short Story Prize 2017.

The Jinns on the Windward Side - Longlisted for the Berlin Writing Prize 2017.

And We Grew So Old - Shortlisted for the Words and Women Contest 2017. A nation-wide contest for British women writers.

There where the Trees Are - Longlisted for the (TSS Publishing) Cambridge Prize 2017.

Bed Blocker No. 10 - 4th place The Asian Writer UK Short Story Prize 2017 (Dahlia Publishing).

There where the trees are - Longlisted for the Sunderland University and Waterstone Contest 2017.


Short Story Publications in literary journals

Remembering the Song - Muse India, issue Nov-Dec, 2015. 

Letters from Nairobi - Jaggery SouthAsian Literary Journal, Issue no. 8, Spring 2016. Pick of three. 

Sharmini Subramaniam: Name Unknown -  Litro Magazine UK (India issue; editor Shashi Tharoor); issue no 156, October, 2016.  

The Grief Register - Selected among the 22 British writers to be published by TSS in 2017/18.

The Memory of Being - Bangalore Review, January 2017.

Our American Guest - Bombay Review, Jan-Feb 2017 issue.

Invisible Until We're Not - Kartika Review USA, issue 18, Summer 2017.

The Arrogance of spring - Published in Lighthouse (Gatehouse Press, UK) Issue no. 16 (2018). 


Poetry and anthology publications

How Does Forgiveness Work? - Published in 'The Road to Clevedon Pier' anthology 2017 by Hedgehog Press UK.

In Colder Climes - published by Mechanics' Institute Review (Birkbeck University) April 2018.

What do Fish Remember? - Longlisted Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize 2018 and published in the What the Elephant Said to the Peacock (Dempsey & Windle, 2018).

Quilt me a blanket - published by Words for the Wild nature poem journal. May 2018.


Newspapers and magazines

Nationally and internationally published in Saffronart, DNA India, Himal Southasian, The African (Tanzania) and Times of India.

Contributor to the lifestyle magazines Wo’Goa, Timeline Goa and Goa Streets. 

Since 2008, have been a regular columnist at Goan Voice UK, Oheraldo Review and currently with Oheraldo Goa, once again.


Editing; Introductions

Tulsi and Other Stories by Edila Gaitonde, Goa 1556; 2011. Wrote introduction.

Global Goans Convention 2011 brochure. Editor.

Goan Association (U.K) 50th anniversary brochure. Editor.

Copy-editor at Jaggery South Asian Literary Journal.

Founder-editor and content developer at Joao Roque Literary Journal.


Project, Documentary, Exhibition & Museum

Between 2011-2014, headed the Oral Histories of British Goans project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, UK, which recorded and archived at the British Library, UK, the diasporic voices of East African Goans residing in Britain.

Curated the first ever exhibition of East African Goans at the Nehru Centre London, 2013. 

In July 2013, produced and co-edited the documentary ‘Past lives’ first screened at Cranford Community College Hall, UK. 

'Goan Pioneers of Mombasa' published in the Kenya Museum Society journal issue 44, 2017.

Volunteer at the Battle of Britain Bunker Museum, Uxbridge, London since 2017.


Literary Festival Presentation

In December, 2014, invited by Goa Arts and Literary Festival (GALF) to present the book A Railway Runs Through.

Read for Spread the Word London at the Bare Lit Festival 27 May 2018.

Invited for Leciester Festival 30 June 2018.


Some publications in which her work is cited:

Sana Aiyar, Indians in Kenya, Harvard University Press; 2015.

Anna Winterbottom, Histories of Medicine and Healing, Springer, 2016.

L. Potter, The Persian Gulf in Modern Times, Springer, 2014.

Christopher Larkosh, Thinking Goa Through English Language Women Writing, presented at Goa Cultures symposium, 2016.

Ferrão, Rodney Benedito, Absent Homes: Literary Makings of Goans and their Worlds (London: Birkbeck College, University of London, 2012).

J. Nazareth, A Passage to Kenya, (USA; 2017).


Other pretentious stuff

Holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from the Heriott-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK.

In 2011, awarded the Goan Associations UK President’s award for service to the community.

To contact Selma Carvalho write to:

To visit the sister website the Joao Roque Literary Review click: