Geetha Iyer received an MFA in Creative Writing & Environment from Iowa State University in 2014. She is the 2020-2022 Mellon Science and Nature Writing Fellow at Kenyon College, where she writes and teaches about intersections between the sciences and the arts through ecocritical and postcolonial lenses.
She writes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, with work appearing in journals including Gulf Coast, Orion, The Missouri Review Online, Ninth Letter, Mid-American Review, Territory, Cold Mountain Review, The Account, National Geographic, The Massachusetts Review, and Indiana 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 has held residencies through the SciArt Initiative’s virtual, cross-disciplinary program, “The Bridge: Experiments in Science & Art,” Estudio Nuboso’s collaborative Art + Science Lab in Panama City, Panama, and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in Oregon, USA.
She has a 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. At present, she lives in Panama.
She is currently at work on several book-length projects, including:
- A collection of nonfiction essays (tentatively titled, Interstitial Organisms) about novel ecosystems, cognition in non-human animals, and finding meaning in human-altered landscapes through the lives of animals familiar and strange.
- 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.
- A novel-in-stories, Resident Aliens, about a family fracturing as they search for different ideas of home—on Mars, 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.
- A short story collection (tentatively titled, Waters Fires Houses) about natural history archivists, sociopathic artists, girls who might be time-travelers, and languages that might be alive.