2016 O. Henry Award for “The Mongerji Letters”
- From editor, Laura Furman:
Time is both brief and elastic in Iyer’s tale. Extinction puts pressure on those who would preserve the world, yet for these characters years go by as one of our days might pass. “The Mongerji Letters” is told through a correspondence between young Mr. Chappalwala and various Mongerjis, and Iyer gracefully pushes along time and information about events and characters through the various voices. She creates a constant tension between the timelessness of the strange events and our overwhelming sense that we’re watching a dying planet, a very contemporary feeling. The tension is gently reinforced by the old-fashioned epistolary form and the style of the dates, for example, “September 7, —18.” Is it 1918? 2018? 3018? Iyer’s intricate story could be set at almost any time and be just as engrossing and as wise.
2015 James Wright Poetry Award, Mid-American Review, for “Mapping the Tongue”
- From judge, Oliver de la Paz:
Smell and taste are inextricably linked to memory and nowhere is the science more eloquently on display in art than it is in “Mapping the Tongue.” In this remarkable poem, lessons about language and food are passed down over generations as a testament to the types of enervations that spring up when juices from red and delicious strawberries cover the tongue. Here, the taste of salt hints at distant oceans found in whorled shells strewn about the school grounds. The long tendrils of memory and language are evoked beautifully in this poem as it charts the geographies of taste, language, and home.
2014 Research Excellence Award, Iowa State University, for Auditions for the Volunteer Mission to Mars – Stories
2014 Pearl Hogrefe Grants-In-Aid for Creative Writing, Iowa State University
2013 Calvino Prize, University of Louisville, for “The Mongerji Letters”
- News release from UofL Today
- From judge, Tobias Wolff:
The great writer (Calvino) would certainly have recognized, and been delighted by, this story’s imaginative reach, both playful and serious; its subtle grounding in the realities of social and personal life, even as it delivers the reader into dazzling realms of possibility. It is, at last, a hymn to the imagination, and a tremor of apprehension at the worldly forces that threaten to overwhelm and destroy it.
2013 Work-study fellowship, Bread Loaf Writers Conference
2013 Pearl Hogrefe Grants-In-Aid for Creative Writing, Iowa State University
2012 Gulf Coast Fiction Prize, for “The Glass World-Builder”
- Shout-out in The Review Review:
For myself, the most enjoyable piece, that is, one that imparts a previously unsensed necessity for it, is the winner of the 2012 Gulf Coast Fiction Prize, “The Glass-World Builder” by Geetha Iyer. The prose here is masterful, and if Ms. Iyer is not exactly reinventing the wheel stylistically, she is at least rolling it down the road less traveled in this richly complex, thought provoking story of a self-described “microbial geosculpturist.” This is one of those stories that can bear multiple readings without danger of its possibilities and pleasures becoming exhausted.
2012 Dark Horse Award, from the Creative Writing and Environment program, Iowa State University
2007 Hopwood Undergraduate Award, short fiction, University of Michigan
2007 Robert F. Haugh Prize, short fiction, University of Michigan
- Hopwood Awards news release