Shashi Deshpande (born 1938) is an Indian novelist. She is a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Padma Shri Award in 1990 and 2009 respectively.
She was born in Dharwad, Karnataka, the second daughter of the Kannada dramatist and writer Adya Rangacharya and Sharada Adya. She was educated in Bombay (now Mumbai) and Bangalore. Deshpande has degrees in Economics and Law. In Mumbai, she studied journalism at the Vidya Bhavan and worked for a few months as a journalist for the magazine 'Onlooker'.
She published her first collection of short stories in 1978, and her first novel, 'The Dark Holds No Terror', in 1980. She won the Sahitya Akademi Award for the novel That Long Silence in 1990 and the Padma Shri award in 2009. Her novel Shadow Play was shortlisted for The Hindu Literary Prize in 2014.
Deshpande has written four children’s books, a number of short stories, thirteen novels, and an essay collection entitled Writing from the Margin and Other Essays.
On 9 October 2015, she resigned from her position in the Sahitya Akademi's general council and returned her Sahitya Akademi award. In doing so, she joined a broader protest by other writers against the Akademi's perceived inaction and silence on the murder of M. M. Kalburgi.
On 6 December 2018, during her inaugural address of the ninth edition of the Goa Arts and Literature Festival (GALF), Deshpande urged Indians to think about the consequences of wanting a Hindu nation, and reminded those present of the violence and carnage that had been caused by the India-Pakistan partition.