Creative Writing

Sayantani Dasgupta

Assistant Professor
Contributing editor, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies
Founder, Write Wilmington
Kenan Hall 1231 | 910.962.7305 | 

Sayantani Dasgupta


BA, St. Stephen's College, Delhi
MA, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
MFA, University of Idaho



Honors & Awards

  • Winner, Write India Season 3, for the short story, “Chain Reaction,” June, 2020. Write India is organized by Times of India Books, the books division of India’s largest English-language newspaper, The Times of India.  
  • Finalist for Foreword Indie Book of the Year (Nonfiction) for Fire Girl, December 2016.
  • Finalist for Juggernaut Books’ First Love Short Story Contest, for the story “Knots,” October 2016.
  • Winner of Dukool magazine’s 2016 Creative Nonfiction Contest for the essay, “My Grandfather’s Red Chair.”
  • First runner-up, Phoebe Magazine Creative Nonfiction Contest 2014 judged by Cheryl Strayed for the essay “Oscillation.”
  • Special Mention Pushcart Prize, 2010, for nonfiction essay “On Seeking Answers.”
  • Centrum Writers Fellowship, 2008, 2009.


Recent Courses

CRW 580 – The Macabre: Reading & Writing Horror
CRW 545 – Eating Our World & Writing about Food
CRW 550 – Inventive Wonders: Workshop in Lyric & Hermit Crab Essays
CRW 420 – The Contemporary Essay
CRW 420 – Boundaries & Beyond: Writing About Familiar, Foreign & Forbidden Places



Born in Calcutta and raised in New Delhi, Sayantani Dasgupta’s most recent book is the short story collection Women Who Misbehave. Her essay collection Fire Girl was a Finalist for the Foreword Indies Awards for Creative Nonfiction. Her essays and stories have appeared in The Rumpus, Hunger Mountain, The Bellingham Review, The Southern Humanities Review, The Hindu, and others. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at UNCW, and has also taught in India, Italy, and Mexico. She serves as a contributing editor for Assay: A Journal of Creative Nonfiction, and is the founder of Write Wilmington. Her research interests include Creative Nonfiction, Literary Fiction, South Asian History and Literature, Indian Cinema, World Religions, Fairy Tales, Folk Lore and Mythology.


On Teaching

Professionally, I have worn many hats, and my strengths are the same in all of them—curiosity, discipline, and humor. I set aside time for my curiosity every day, though the subject changes often. At present, it is the neuroscience of birds and North Carolinian food. I hope students see this curiosity in the unique courses I teach, the questions I ask them in the classroom, and through my use of reading materials drawn from all over the world.

I have inherited my sense of discipline from my family. To keep my Discipline Muscle in shape, I read and write daily, be it in my journal, or blog, or toward my next book. I share my writing goals and failures with my students to remind them (and me) that I hold myself to a high standard, and that the daily work is far more valuable than any talent one might be born with. I am fascinated by all the building blocks that make up the craft of writing, and irrespective of the course, my students write for 10-15 minutes every time we meet. By the end of the semester, each of them ends up with anything between 20-40 pages of raw material that can then be shaped and polished further. 

Finally, because I have lived in many places and befriended many kinds of people, it’s important to me that I hold on to my sense of humor. It makes it easier to navigate life’s sharp corners.