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As an author, Padma Hejmadi has published poetry, nonfiction and two books of collected fiction under the name of Padma Perera. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Parabola and elsewhere, with essays translated into French by Initiations, Belgium. She is represented in several anthologies of International Literature, Women's Writing, and Salman Rushdie's Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing, 1947-1997.

As a photographer and visual artist, Padma Hejmadi's work in both fields has been exhibited in solo and group shows in Seattle, California and Hawaii. It is included in private collections in the U.S., Japan and New Zealand. In addition, it has been reproduced on book covers for volumes of poetry as well as her own book of nonfiction, Room to Fly.

Born in Madras, India, Hejmadi received her BA Honours degree from the University of Delhi and MA from the University of Michigan. She has given readings and seminars at Vassar, the MFA program at Columbia, the Rhode Island School of Design, etc., taught for some years at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and later at Colorado College. In 2001 she was made Co-Director of The New Pacific Studio, California and New Zealand, fostering exchange programs between artists of the Pacific Rim.

Aside from an early sojourn in Greece and southern Europe, her time has been mainly spent between India, the U.S, and Moku O Keawe or the Big Island of Hawaii, where she lived and worked for seven years, deeply honoring the traditional wisdom and connection of the Hawaiian people to their ‘aina, their beautiful land.




Room to Fly, A Transcultural Memoir., University of California Press, Berkeley, 2000.
Birthday Deathday, Revised Ed., International Penguin Paperback, 1992.
Birthday Deathday, First Ed., Women's Press, London, 1985.
Dr. Salaam and Other Stories of India, Capra Press, 1978.
The Challenge of Indian Fiction in English (non-fiction), University of Delhi and the State University of New York, Albany, NY, chapbook 1975.
Coigns of Vantage, Writer's Workshop, Calcutta, India, 1972


Published in The New Yorker, Horizon, Parabola, Poetry Northwest, The American Book Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Iowa Review, Initiations, Belgium, and magazines in India and the U.S. , and after 1990 in French translation from Initiations, Belgium.


Represented in various collections of international and women's writing, including:
Views from the Hindu Tradition, Parabola World Religious Series, 2007.
The Inner Courtyard, ed. Lakshmi Holmstrom, Virago Press, UK.
Grandmother Histories, ed. M. Bouvard, Syracuse University Press.
Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947-1997, ed. Salman Rushdie.


Solo Show: East West Fine Arts Gallery, Kailua-Kona, HI, 2004.
Group Show: East West Fine Arts Gallery, Kailua Kona, HI, 2002.
Foreword for Fleur Weymouth Photographs, Abeel & Leet, MA, 1998.
Cover Photography for Green Notebook, Winter Road, and Scaffolding, by NY State Poet Laureate Jane Cooper, Tilbury House, MA. 1994 & 1993.
Solo Exhibition: Inscapes/Outscapes, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA, 1990.


Solo Show: Visual Art, Reading and Classical Dance of India, East West Fine Arts Gallery, Kailua-Kona, HI, 2004.
Artists as Authors/Authors as Artists, Invitational Show: art exhibit, lecture, book signing, Pence Gallery, Davis, CA, 2000.
Image, Text and Context: Solo Exhibition of collages, assemblages and ancient calligraphy, International House, CA, 1997.


Conversations, Fiction.
Lei For My Mother, Poetry.
Visual Art:
Paintings & Collages.


  • The Hopwood Prize for Major Fiction, University of Michigan.
  • Who's Who of Women Authors, Cambridge University Press, UK.
  • Included in Anthology from Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Literature), India.
  • Citation for Outstanding Contributions Toward International Understanding, University of Michigan.
  • Fellowships from The Corporation of Yaddo, NY; The MacDowell Colony, NH; The Wurlitzer Foundation, Taos, NM; The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, VA.



Life has walked me through some different arts in some different ways. The childhood dream of learning classical Indian dance began at age four in the far south of India, and finished in my twenties on the stage of a Women's Theater in New York. Not at all a "career", it became an irreplaceable part of consciousness, a way of being in the world. Wherever I go, I continue however creakily to do a private bhoomi puja, invocation to the earth, asking permission to live on that particular patch: for the strength to assimilate its hardships and the grace to accept its gifts.

Writing came with studying English at age seven. Usually a constant, it could also come and go as it pleased, past ardor, past ability or disability, past discipline or the lack of it – resulting in that sense of what Henry James calls donnee (the given) where you can neither question its visitations nor sanction its rules. Where like so many others you might learn to make friends with failure or success in varying definitions, but can never lose your love for the perfectly chosen word. Virginia Woolf says, "After all, what is a perfect phrase? One that mops up as much truth as it can hold."

And artist Agnes Martin adds: "There's no such thing as a false step in art, there's only a next step." That's what you hope when, thanks to encouraging friends, you fall into photography in your forties and visual art in your fifties: an autodidact continually making mistakes but somehow enjoying it, and presuming that at least longevity, if not dedication or an earned skill, will take you to that next step!