Rahul Mehta

Alumnus, 1990

Rahul Mehta attended the Workshop in fiction in 1990.

Where are you living and what brought you there?

For the past five years I’ve been living in Alfred, New York, where I taught writing at Alfred University.  This summer I’ll be moving to Philadelphia. My partner is entering a PhD program in Dance Studies at Temple University, and I am taking the year “off” to focus on my second book.

What do you find yourself most often reading/listening to lately and why?

Here’s what’s on my bedside table right now: Zipper Mouth by Laurie Weeks, Left-handed by Jonathan Galassi, and Mitko by Garth Greenwell.

What are you working on right now and what does it represent in the larger body of your artistic accomplishments?

I’m working on my second book, a novel that is set partly in India and partly in rural America.

What are your publications, performances, albums, and/or achievements that seem most important to you at this point in time?

My debut short story collection, Quarantine, was published in the U.S. in 2011 by HarperPerennial and in India in 2010 by Random House India. My fiction and essays have appeared in the Kenyon Review, New Stories from the South, the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, Marie Claire India and elsewhere. An Out Magazine “Out 100” honoree for 2011, I’m a graduate of the MFA program in Fiction Writing at Syracuse University.

How would you characterize the influence of your YWW experience in your life?

It changed my life. That’s an honest statement, not an exaggeration. It was one of the first times that I felt like what I did as a writer—that being a writer—was valued. It showed me that there was, indeed, a path for me, that there was a community of others like me, and that I wasn’t alone.

What’s the best advice you can give a Young Writer (in general or in your specific genre)?

Being a writer is more than a profession: it’s a certain way of being in the world. I remember reading something Jonathan Safran Foer wrote in the acknowledgments of Everything Is Illuminated. He was thanking his editor, saying that his advice always boiled down to the following: Feel more. I love that.