Leeya Mehta

Leeya Mehta

Leeya Mehta


Creative Writing: Nationalism, intergenerational trauma, and breaking cycles of violence through individual and civic agency. Mehta's column, The Company We Keep, on the reading and writing life, appears in the Independent, exploring the life of social justice and the contemporary imagination.

Professor Mehta brings a multi disciplinary approach to her teaching. She currently teaches undergraduate seminars in International Literature, and Creative Writing. She is simultaneously the Interim Director of the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center. Her work as an editor and curator features writers from Maine to Mumbai. She likes to bring contemporary fiction writers, poets, and journalists into her classes and celebrate the arts and academic life of George Mason.

Professor Mehta is a prize-winning poet, fiction writer and essayist. She is the author of The Towers of Silence and A Story of the World Before the Fence, about which Tim Seibles, former Poet Laureate of Virginia writes, “is a lush, lyrical study of memory and history.” In 2022 her work has been anthologized in a Red Hen Press anthology of contemporary Indian writers: Future Work, and the Penguin Book of Modern Indian Poets.

Prof. Mehta was trained as an economist, and has a degree from Oxford University in philosophy, politics and economics and a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University. She began her career in non-profit work in Mumbai, and was subsequently a fellow in Human Rights at the UN University in Tokyo. She has spent the last decades working at the World Bank, first in Climate Change in Africa, and then as the primary evaluator for the Bank's progress in meeting gender equality goals. As a senior gender specialist, her international development work has covered many countries, as the World Bank lends across the world. Her regional focus has been on gender in Eastern/Central Europe and Central/South America. 

Mehta's parallel work has been in the literary arts, both as a writer of fiction, poetry and essays, and on the boards of literary non profits. She has published two collections of poetry, short fiction, and essays. She is currently working on her novel, Extinction.

Selected Publications

Select fiction, non fiction and poetry:

  • Poetry collection: A Story of the World Before the Fence, Finishing Line Press, Nov 2020
  • Poems appear in The Penguin Book of Indian Poets: ed. Jeet Thayil, Penguin Random House, Apr 2022
  • Poetry appears in Future Library: Contemporary Indian Writing: eds. Anjum Hasan, Sampurna Chattarji, Red Hen Press, 2022
  • Poetry appears in Converse: Contemporary English Poetry, 2022
  • Short Story: ‘How does one make a woman like that happy?” in Furious Gravity, an anthology of DC women writers (Politics & Prose, American University), 2020; see online interview feature and read online version here
  • ‘Immortal Attraction’ appears in The Third Eye, an anthology of speculative fiction (Graphic India), 2022
  • All of Me and other poems republished: Chandrabhaga #16, 2018
  • ‘Tokyo Tour’ in Why Nicht? Austria, Nov 2018
  • Featured poet: Beltway Poetry Quarterly, previously unpublished poems include, Waiting, Earth & The Years. Home, a previously published poem in Origins Journal, is also included. Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Volume 19:2, April 1, 2018
  • Poem: Women at the Peace Memorial / Hiroshima appeared in Plume 6 a print anthology, March 2018
  • Nudes I and Nudes II in Plume Poetry, plumepoetry.com, #80, March 2018
  • An International Publication Award, Atlanta Review: Poems Refugees circa 926, Dec 2017
  • Recording: 4th Street Plaza in Gargoyle CD #67, Dec 2017
  • Close to the end appears in District Lines 4 (Politics and Prose anthology of DC writers), Jan 2017
  • Fourth Street Plaza, National Gallery of Art, and II Courthouse, Washington DC in Vinyl Poetry, Sept 2016
  • Refugees was a Finalist, 18th Annual Arts and Letters Rumi Prize for Poetry, June 2016
  • 2016 Readers’ Choice Award Winners Chapbook from District Lit with Black dog on the Anacostia, April 2016
  • Black dog on the Anacostia, in District Lit, Fall 2015
  • Home /Tokyo, in Origins Journal, Volume 2:2 Issue: Shame, Fall, 2015
  • Metal Anniversary, in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Volume 16:1, January 2015
  • The Abduction in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Volume 64:3, Spring 2014
  • Poetry Collection: The Towers of Silence, Aark Arts (UK, India, USA), 2004
  • Watching the Fifth War (reprint), in Eclipse, Michigan, 2004
  • The Woman who Willed Her Son to Die, in The Reader, UK Issue 14, Jan 2004
  • Watching the Fifth War, in International Gallerie, July 2002


Master of Public Policy, Georgetown University

Fellow in Human Rights, United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan

Master of Arts in Philosophy, Politics & Economics, St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University, Radhakrishnan Scholarship

Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Economics with Math, Minor in English Literature, St. Xavier’s College, Univ. of Mumbai, India