Geetha Iyer received an MFA in Creative Writing & Environment from Iowa State University in 2014. She writes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, with work appearing in journals including Gulf Coast, Orion, Salt Hill, The State, The Missouri Review Online, Ninth Letter, and the Mid-American Review. Recognition for her writing includes: the 2016 O. Henry Award, the 2014-2015 James Wright Poetry Award, the 2013 Calvino Prize, the 2012 Gulf Coast Fiction Prize, a work-study scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Hopwood Award and Robert F. Haugh Prize for undergraduate short fiction from the University of Michigan. She was a 2016 writer-in-residence at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.
She has multidisciplinary background in arts and sciences. She received a Master of Forest Resources and Conservation degree from the University of Florida in 2010, with a focus on environmental education. She received a dual Bachelor of Sciences degree in biology and English from the University of Michigan in 2007. She is passionate about community arts, science literacy, and social and environmental justice. She was born in India and grew up in the United Arab Emirates.
She is currently at work on a novel-in-stories, Resident Aliens, about a family fracturing as they search for different ideas of home—on the Moon, in the West, in the woods, in the past. A boy dreams of a way out of school. A girl becomes foreign to herself. A security guard wants to be an astronaut. A tailor has no time for haute couture.
She is also putting together a poetry collection, Mapping the Tongue, which started with a Tamil dictionary, a recipe for curried bananas, and scientific papers on invasive species, and is now concerned with all the ways language cannot classify experience.
Her first collection of short stories, Auditions for the Volunteer Mission to Mars, is about what tourists, travelers, and refugees take or make to reclaim their identity when uprooted.
She is also fiddling around with notes about dart frogs, urban ecosystems, virtual reality, and nano-materials.