About Sunil

Sunil Patel, Photo Credit: Claire Rice

Photo Credit: Claire Rice

Like the world itself, it all started with dinosaurs. At the age of 8, I wrote and illustrated The Disastrous Dino War. It was about a dino war that was disastrous. The next year, I wrote and illustrated K.E.E.T. and the Invasion of the Insectoids. It was about Kids with the Entomology Expertise of Tomorrow staving off an invasion of insectoids. From then on, I stopped illustrating my own work because as fun as it was to draw a boy with an insect leg, I was terrible at it.

I wrote stories about interdimensional portals, cannibalistic rats, and bovine poltergeists. I also dabbled in poetry, but let’s not talk about that. No one wants to talk about their high school poetry.

At Rice University, I took creative writing class after creative writing class—plus one dramatic writing class—learning the intricacies of character, plot, theme, dialogue, and everything else I had been doing without knowing what I was doing. The best story I wrote in four years won the George Williams Prize for Fiction, awarded by the English department and judged by professional writers. It only won second place in a contest judged by English graduate students.

In the decade that followed, I only wrote one short story, but after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, I fell in with the theater community, rediscovered my love of theater, and began to create some of my own. I wrote my first monologue, my first first act of a full-length, and my first short play. I tackled topics ranging from the struggle to be a non-drinker in a drinkeronormative society to our attachment to material objects. I wrote for, acted in, directed for, and produced a night of sci-fi/fantasy/horror theater.

Then in 2013, I attended LoneStarCon 3 and fell in with the SFF community, rediscovered my love of fiction, and began to create my own again. It all started with dinosaurs, but I don’t know where it will end. When I won the George Williams Prize for Fiction, the professor said that she expected to see my books in a bookstore one day. I intend to make that happen.

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Writing Workshops

  • Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, 2016: Instructors: Kelly Link, Ted Chiang, Andy Duncan, Victor LaValle, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman
  • Writing the Other Weekend Intensive, 2015. Instructors: K. Tempest Bradford, Nisi Shawl
  • Taos Toolbox, 2015. Instructors: Walter Jon Williams, Nancy Kress, Carrie Vaughn
  • Writing Excuses Retreat and Workshop, 2014. Instructors: Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells
  • Short Story Intensive, 2014. Instructor: Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, 2014. Instructor: Cat Rambo
  • Fiction Writing, 2003. Instructor: Kathleen Cambor
  • Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction, 2002. Instructor: Kent Nelson
  • Dramatic Writing, 2002. Instructor: Douglas Mitchell
  • Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction, 2001. Instructor: Glenn Blake
  • Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction, 2000. Instructor: Marsha Recknagel

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