Discipline: Literature – nonfiction

Leila Christine Nadir

Discipline: Literature – nonfiction
Region: Rochester, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2022

Leila Nadir is an Afghan-American writer, artist, and educator obsessed with “life after ruins” and the possibilities for collective memory and repair after ecological disruptions, geopolitical violence, immigration and exile, and colonial traumas.

A former New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow, and Aspen Institute Emerging Writer Fellow, she holds a Ph.D. in literature from Columbia University. She is the founding director of the environmental humanities program at the University of Rochester, where she is an associate professor.

Leila's latest project, Afghan Americana, is an intimate-geopolitical memoir about the wars that rage within and beyond the family, interweaving her mixed-race girlhood in an immigrant family with legacies of the Cold War, the U.S. Culture Wars, the Gulf War, and the wars in Afghanistan. Excerpts from the manuscript have appeared in Black Warrior Review, North American Review, Asian American Literary Review, Aster(ix), ASAP Journal, and in the 2021 anthology New Moons: Contemporary Writing by North American Muslims. While at MacDowell, Leila worked on part two of the book and edited the first chapter, which will appear in the Winter 2022 issue of Black Warrior Review.

Portrait by Cary Adams


Phi Beta

Leila Christine Nadir worked in the Phi Beta studio.

Funded by the Phi Beta Fraternity, a national professional fraternity of music and speech founded in 1912, Phi Beta Studio was built from 1929–1931 of granite quarried on the MacDowell grounds. The small studio is very simple in design, but displays a pleasing combination of materials with its granite walls and colorful slate roofing. Inside is a…

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