Deepak Unnikrishnan

Assistant Arts Professor of Literature and Creative Writing Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: BA Fairleigh Dickinson University; MA Fairleigh Dickinson University; MFA School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Deepak Unnikrishnan is a writer from Abu Dhabi. His book Temporary People, a work of fiction about Gulf narratives steeped in Malayalee and South Asian lingo, won the inaugural Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, the Hindu Prize, and the Moore Prize.

Book Cont.: Temporary People was also shortlisted for the Believer Book Award, the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize, the Crossword Book Award, and appeared on the longlist for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and the International Dublin Literary Award.

Art: Deepak’s fiction was commissioned for the written publications of the National Pavilion of the UAE at the Venice Biennale (2017) and the Oslo Architecture Triennale (2019). His voice and work can also be heard on musician Sarathy Korwar’s album 'More Arriving'.

Writing: His essays and fiction have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, Guernica, Drunken Boat, The State: Vol IV: Dubai, Himal Southasian, and The Penguin Book of Migration Literature (Penguin Classics), among others.

Residencies: He has been a writer in residence at Sangam House, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, and Brown University, and was a Margaret Bridgman Fellow in Fiction at Bread Loaf.

Pedagogy/Research: As a writer/professor/walker he is particularly interested in the role of memory, left-behind stories and language(s) in transient/ephemeral spaces, especially when residents aren't required/expected to belong. This could be why, in the two courses he teaches at NYUAD, The Outsider, and Street Food, students are expected to walk the city, often.

End: He is the winner of the 2014 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award and has performed or read from his work at literary festivals, independent bookstores (because they go to bat for the underdog), bars masquerading as cafés and/or anyplace willing to permit him time and a mike.

Courses Taught