Born and educated in Orissa, India, Shanta Acharya won a scholarship to Oxford where she completed her doctoral thesis on Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1983. She was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard before joining Morgan Stanley Asset Management in London in 1985. She has worked in the asset management industry ever since and is the author of several books on the subject.
Her five books of poetry are Dreams That Spell The Light (Arc Publications, 2010); Shringara (Shoestring Press, 2006); Looking In, Looking Out (Headland Publications, 2005); Numbering Our Days' Illusions (Rockingham Press, 1995) and Not This, Not That (Rupa & Co., India, 1994). Her doctoral study, The Influence of Indian Thought on Ralph Waldo Emerson was published by the Edwin Mellen Press, USA, in 2001.
In 2012, she had poems published in The Spectator, The Warwick Review, Agenda, Acumen (Acumen also published an interview with her), ArtemisPoetry, The Interpreter's House, Confluence, London Grip (in the UK), The Brown Critique, Kavya Bharati, Objet-d'-Art (in India), and Bengal Lights (in Bangladesh). Three anthologies - one in India (Harper Collins Book of English Poetry), one in the UK (Bloodaxe anthology Out of Bounds), and one in the US (The Daydreamer's Journal: An International Anthology of Short Stories and Poetry for Charity) also featured her work. To coincide with World Poetry Day, Tongues and Grooves, in conjunction with the BBC and Portsmouth University screened her poem, Italian Prayer (from her Arc collection, Dreams That Spell The Light), on the Big Screen in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, on March 21st 2012.
Since 1996, she has been the founder director of 'Poetry in the House' at Lauderdale House, Highgate in London.