Vauhini Vara named 2023-2024 Visiting Assistant Professor of English

Vauhini Vara
Vauhini Vara. Photo by Andrew Altschul.

The Department of English is delighted to announce award-winning journalist and acclaimed writer Vauhini Vara will join the MFA in Creative Writing Program as Visiting Assistant Professor for the 2023-2024 academic year. In this role, Vara will teach a graduate-level essay workshop this coming fall semester, and another graduate course in the spring. Additionally, Vara will give a public reading at CSU and advise graduate students in the creative nonfiction track on their final theses.

The Creative Writing Program is overjoyed to welcome Vauhini as a Visiting Professor for the 2023-2024 academic year,” Professor and Director of Creative Writing Sasha Steensen said. “Students and faculty alike will benefit from her expertise, her enthusiasm, and her wide-ranging knowledge of writing across genres and for a variety of audiences.”

Currently, Vara is a mentor of creative nonfiction at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Book Project, and the secretary for Periplus, a collective mentoring writers of color.

“After years of admiring this program’s extraordinary students and faculty, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining for a year,” Vara said. “And with a focus on creative nonfiction, a genre whose complexities and layers make it particularly fun to teach.”

About the writer

Vauhini Vara began her writing career as a technology reporter at the Wall Street Journal and later launched, edited and wrote for the business section of the New Yorker’s website. Since then, her writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper’sBusinessweek, and elsewhere. She is a Wired contributing writer and can sometimes be found working as a story editor at the New York Times Magazine.

Her essay in The Believer about grief, “Ghosts,” also adapted for a This American Life episode, was anthologized in Best American Essays 2022. In 2020, an oral history of globalization in Businessweek won a South Asian Journalists Association Award and was longlisted for a One World Media Award, and a piece in The Believer about tiny houses won a National Association of Real Estate Editors Award. She has also taught creative nonfiction at Southern New Hampshire University’s Mountainview MFA Program.

Book cover of Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara

Additionally, Vara is a novelist and writer of short fiction. Her debut novel, The Immortal King Rao, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics’ Circle’s John Leonard Prize, the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and the Colorado Book Award. It is being adapted for television. In India, it won the Atta Galatta Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize and the Times of India AutHer Award, and was shortlisted for the Tata Literature Live First Book Award. It will be followed in September 2023 by a story collection, This is Salvaged, which Lithub and Electric Literature have named as one of the most anticipated books of the year.

She studied creative writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction has received an O. Henry Award, as well as honors from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, MacDowell, and Yaddo. It has been published or is forthcoming in One Story, Tin House, McSweeney’s, Bomb, Zyzzyva and elsewhere.