As a lawyer: In Australia, Shankari works closely with the community sector to understand how laws have failed vulnerable communities. She collaborates with First Nations communities and the sector, to support their advocacy work, preparing submissions advocating for systemic reform on issues such as First Nations incarceration rates, justice reinvestment, raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility and Australia’s human rights record. These submissions prioritise the lived experiences of marginalised people, elevating their voices in reform recommendations. For ten years, Shankari also worked for the international law firm, Allen & Overy LLP, as the head of pro bono and community affairs, managing teams across the firm’s 31 offices that executed a global pro bono strategy. Her work ranged from ensuring representation for detainees in Guantanamo Bay to policy development for the UK government. Allen & Overy’s program was award-winning and one of the largest in the world. She built a program that was strategic, sustainable and high impact.
As a writer: Shankari’s first novel, Song of the Sun God (Perera-Hussein Publishing, 2017) was long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award (2019) and short-listed for Sri Lanka’s Fairway National Literary Award (2018). Her second novel, The Barrier (Pan Macmillan, 2017) was short-listed for the Norma K Hemming Award for Speculative Fiction (2018). Song of the Sun God is being adapted for a six-part TV series with Synchronicity Films UK and Dragonet Films Australia. The Barrier and her unpublished manuscript, The Phantom Limb, have both been optioned for television. In 2019, she won the Blake-Beckett Scholarship and she is the NSW Government’s Writers Fellow for 2018/2019. She has been published in the Sweatshop anthology, Women (VOL 2) and was selected to write a chapter for The Australian’s serial murder mystery, “Oh Matilda Who Bloody Killed Her?” (2021), alongside Trent Dalton, Thomas Keneally and others. She was the dramaturg for “Bhoomi: Our Country” a collaboration between Australian South Asian artists and Bruce Pascoe, which was performed at the Sydney Festival (2021). Her latest novel, Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens, will be published by Ultimo Press in early 2022. She writes about the erasure of dispossession and the connections we seek as a result of it. Her novels have been accused of othering the coloniser.