Rajpreet Heir

Assistant Professor, Writing
School: School of Humanities and Sciences
Phone: 317-246-0032
Office: Smiddy Hall 412, Ithaca, NY 14850
Specialty: Creative Nonfiction and Professional Writing

Rajpreet Heir is an Indian from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her parents are from the Midlands of England and her grandparents are from rural farming villages in Punjab, India. In her writing, she explores how to make sense of her identity in a non-essentialist way while still grappling with the politics of colonialism and multiple layers of migration. Her current book project, Indian in Indiana, builds on her undergraduate and graduate school thesis. One chapter is forthcoming in A Flame Called Indiana: Contemporary Hoosier Writing, an Indiana University Press anthology, and another appeared in Good Girls Marry Doctors: An Anthology of South Asian American Daughters on Obedience and Rebellion.

She’s been using the same material and awareness of being an Indian in Indiana to do public-facing pieces which have appeared in Teen Vogue, The Best of Brevity anthology, Literary Hub, The Washington Post, and more. Her Bend It Like Beckham personal essay in The Atlantic caught the attention of On Being Studios and they featured her on their “This Movie Changed Me” podcast. Also, The New York Times asked her to transform a written essay about racism she experienced on the subway into a video essay, and it went viral, with additional coverage from Yahoo, HuffPost, and The Times of India. In this public-facing work, she addresses her identity and the urgency of confronting racial injustice and misogyny while also reflecting on long-standing themes she explores in her manuscript—the myth of Midwestern hospitality, the difficulty of speaking up, injustice, and feeling like an outlier.

She received her B.A. in English Writing from DePauw University and her M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from George Mason University. Before this role, she worked for Getty Images and TED Conferences in New York City.  


  • Personal Essay
  • Writing for the Workplace
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Humor Writing
  • Academic Writing
  • Writers' Practice
  • Visiting Writers' Workshop



Media Writing


  • "The Loneliness of the Slow Essayist: On writing books that take forever" (2024)
  • "We can’t all marry rich: Teaching creative writing students professional skills" (2024)
  • "Mentoring Across Race: Practices to Support BIPOC Students and Writers" (2023) 
  • “Navigating Layered Identities in Creative Nonfiction” (2022)
  • "The Drama of Writing Trauma: Female Essayists on Tackling the Tough Topics” (2020)
  • “Mining the Everyday: Using Real Life Experiences as Creative Research” (2019)
  • “A Woman’s Rites of Passage” (2019)