Keya Mitra, PhD

Email Address: 
Phone Number: 
UC Box: 
Office Location: 
Duniway 102



I often show my students a brief TED talk by acclaimed Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, entitled “The Danger of the Single Story,” in which she speaks beautifully to the power of stories to strengthen human ties as well as destroy them: “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower, and humanize.” I am passionate about the exploration and creation of diverse narratives to strengthen human connections across class, cultures, gender, race, and global divides to promote understanding.  We all have narratives to share, and the narrative we chose to share and preserve—and how we choose to tell these stories—are critical. 

I encourage students to question why, with the multitude of narratives playing out at every moment, we are compelled to preserve certain stories and downplay others.  I also believe that investigating how a narrative is told is as critical as exploring why it has been preserved.  I firmly believe that the way a story is shaped and communicated can lead to empowerment for both the audience and author.

Finally, I teach students to view stories as living entities, present not just in classic novels or short stories, but also in everyday dialogue, news stories, social media, and nonverbal communication.  At every moment we witness, develop, and dismiss narratives.

I am delighted to teach at Pacific University, an institution that allows students and faculty to work closely alongside one another both in the classroom and in one-on-one mentoring relationships to build skills that students go on to develop at national and international conferences, internships, and ultimately in the workplace and their day-to-day lives.  Our department’s Editing and Publishing program offers students valuable hands-on experience as well when it comes to editing, revising, and publishing manuscripts and book design.  I am thrilled to work alongside faculty members who are committed to offering opportunities for mentorship, publication, and creative growth inside and outside the classroom. 

In addition to my work at the university I also mentor for the Afghan Women’s Project and was lucky enough to spend ten months in India in 2008 on a Fulbright Grant in Creative Writing. For seven years I taught for Writers in the Schools in Houston, Texas and had a blast teaching creative writing in lower-income schools, art museums, and summer camps.


Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature (Fiction), May 2010

Masters in Fine Arts, Creative Writing Program in Fiction, May 2005

Bachelor of Arts in English and History, English Honors and Liberal Arts Honors, August 2002
Phi Beta Kappa graduate



Pacific University, English Department                                                                                    2013-Current
• ENGL 342:Studies in Fiction
• ENGW 304: Book Design
• ENGL 202: Monsters Within and Without: Demons in Literature
• ENGL 208: Fiction Writing
• ENGL 203: Professional Writing and Editing 
• ENGL 425: Studies in 20th Century Literature
Gonzaga University, English Department                                                                                     2010-2013




Bellevue Literary Review                                     “The Magnificent Purr” (Fall 2014)
Southwest Review                                                 “Antiques Anonymous” (Summer 2014)
Arts & Letters                                                       “Majormama” (Forthcoming 2015)
Slush Pile                                                              “The Unmourned” (Summer 2014)
The Kenyon Review                                              “The Sacred Gifts of Cows and Cheetahs” (Forthcoming
                                                                                Summer 2015)
The Kenyon Review’s Weekend Reads         Reprint of “A Family Matter” from 2011 print edition of
                                                                                The Kenyon Review (2014).
The Kenyon Review           “A Family Matter” (2011)
Best New American Voices 2007                          “Pompeii Recreated”
Torpedo                         “A Man of Many Possibilities” (2008)
Event                         “Operation Saving Suma” (2006)
Fourteen Hills                         “An Elegy to Road Kill” (2006)
Confrontation                        “The Outage” (2006)
Ontario Review                                                      “Pompeii Recreated”  (2005)
Orchid                                                                    “Tips on Pulling off the Graceful Death”  (2005)


The Afghan Women’s Project Newsletter               “AWWP and the Power of One Woman’s Voice”  
                                                                                 (Summer 2014)
Charter Magazine                                                    “A Classless Haven” (2013)
Unity Multicultural Education Center Newsletter  “A Subtle but Critical Diversity” (2012)
Writers in the Schools Newsletter                           “A Child’s Voice in India” (2009)
American Book Review                          Review: Christina Milletti’s The Religious and Other        
                                                                                  Fictions. (2008)
American Book Review                                            Review: Haruki Murakami’s After Dark. (2008)
Gulf Coast                                                                “This is Where I Falter, This is Where I Lose Myself.” 
Gulf Coast                                                                “Interview with Alicia Erian” (2006) 


Fulbright Scholar in Creative Writing in India (10 months)                                                                      2008                                                                                                                                                         Participant  Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop                                                                                  2014
Story in The Kenyon Review reprinted as part of “Weekend Reads” series.                                              2014
“A Family Matter” in The Kenyon Review featured in newsletter under “Why We Chose It”                  2011                                              
Named a “Positive Influence in a Student’s Life” by annual College Senior Survey, Gonzaga       2012                        
Visiting Writer in Fiction, Boldface Conference for Creative Writers in Houston, TX                     2012
Finalist, Flannery O’Connor Prize in Short Fiction Book Award                                                              2011                  Finalist, Bakeless Prize in Short Fiction                                                                                                     2011
Semifinalist, Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest                                                                                  2010 Semifinalist, Book Award, Iowa Short Fiction Award                         2008
Finalist, Book Award, Mary McCarthy Prize in Fiction                         2006
Featured in Fulbright Newsletter for Volunteer Service in India                       2008
Nominated for Pushcart Prize in Fiction                                       2007
Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Work-study Tuition Scholarship                                                           2005
Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Competition Honorable Mention in Fiction                               2004-2005
Barthelme Memorial Fellowship in Fiction, Alternate for Michener Fellowship                            2004-2005
C. Glen Cambor/Inprint Fellowship                                                                                                 2002, 2005
Phi Beta Kappa Graduate, University of Texas at Austin                                                                          2002


“Fiction Craft Talks: Using The Gifts of the Region in an Era of Modernization.” Association of Writers
              and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, Seattle, Washington, February 2014.  Moderator,
              Organizer, and Panelist.

“Reports and Readings from The Afghan Women’s Project.” Association of Writers
              and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, Seattle, Washington, February 2014.  Solicited Reader.

“The Magnificent Purr”: A Reading.  Burnt Tongue Reading Series, Portland, Oregon, May 2014.

“First Person Plural Reading.” Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, Boston,
Massachusetts, March 2013.

“Landing the Tenure-Track Job Without a Book: What to Expect on the Job Market.” Association of
Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, March 2013.

Individual Presentation/Workshop for Diversity Monologues (in conjunction with the Unity Multicultural
               Education Center). Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA, February 2013.

“Teaching Creative Writing in High Schools: Service Learning.” Individual Presentation/Workshop. 
Gonzaga University, Spokane WA, January 2013.

Interview with Gonzaga Student Life on the Diversity Monologues. Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA,
December 2012.

“So You Want to Go to Graduate School?” Panel on Graduate Programs.  Gonzaga University, Spokane,
WA, November 2012.

“’I Am’: Constructing Poetry, Lyrics, and Narratives about Identity.” (With Joe Albert).  Gonzaga
University BRIDGE Session, Spokane, WA, August 2012.

Featured Reading from Ghost Weddings.  Boldface Conference for Writers in Houston, TX, May 2012.

“From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary: Transgressing Boundaries in Fiction.” Craft Talk at the Boldface
Conference for Writers in Houston, TX, May 2012.

“Launching a Career as a Writer.” Panel Presentation at the Boldface Conference for Writers in Houston,
TX, May 2012.

“I Am an Artist.” Panel for Artist Trust Professional Development Workshop, Spokane, WA, May 2012.

“Radical Displacement and Home-Seeking in African-American and Indian Narratives.” Multi-ethnic
Literature of the United States (MELUS), Santa Clara, CA, April 2012.