Pankaj Challa was trained as an electrical engineer, and has made independent films: but on reading Chekhov, has turned seriously to the art of writing. He holds a PhD in English/Creative Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi, and an MFA from the University of Miami, where he was a James Michener Fellow. Pankaj’s fiction has appeared in journals such as Crazyhorse, Saint Ann’s Review, New World Writing, Rosebud Magazine, and Skive Magazine Quarterly. Nonfiction and screenplays have appeared in Grassroots Writing Research Journal and Millennium.
Pankaj has taught English and Creative Writing for several years at various universities in the US, including at the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Miami. In addition to creative writing, his teaching and research interests include screenwriting, ecocriticism, modernist Anglo-American and world literature. He has presented his creative work at numerous readings, including at Edith Wharton's Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts, at Byrdcliffe Open Studios in Woodstock, NY, and at the Festival of Language Reading at the AWP Conference in Chicago. In addition, he has presented his scholarly work on ecocriticism, James Joyce, and Rigveda, at several symposia, seminars and conferences, including at New Directions Conference and (Human) Nature: An Interdisciplinary Conference On Ecotheory And Justice at Illinois State University. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Stone Court Writer-in-Residence, and the Joan Johnson Award in Fiction from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Pankaj has served as Guest Fiction Editor at Crazyhorse and as a Fiction Reader for the Mississippi Review. His other interests include hiking and the great outdoors.