Vyshali Manivannan (she/her/hers) is a writer, educator, and creative-critical scholar with fibromyalgia (FMS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Writing and Cultural Studies at Pace University – Pleasantville and holds a Ph.D. in Communication, Information, and Media from Rutgers University and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia University School of the Arts. Her scholarship and performance art are primarily focused on discourses around chronic pain and fatigue, Euro-Western ocularcentrism and the logic of cure, and pain, language, and academic style, with research and teaching interests in disability studies, electronic literature, graphic novels, war and trauma narratives, consumer media culture, and trolling culture. Her creative work frequently uses fictocriticism, creative nonfiction, and lyric forms to explore issues of embodiment, queerness, hybridity, access, and intergenerational trauma stemming from the Tamil genocide.
Vyshali is the author of Invictus, a YA science-fiction novel written at the age of 15, and has contributed to numerous open-educational resources and open-access scholarly and literary journals, such as Spark, the Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, Digital Health, Fibreculture, The Paris Review online, The New York Times, and DIAGRAM. Her born-digital dissertation, “This is About the Body, the Mind, the Academy, the Clinic, Time, and Pain,” is partially available online. Her work has also appeared in traditional journals like Fourth Genre, Consequence, and Black Clock, and in stage adaptations like Yoni Ki Baat 2010. She was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize in Nonfiction and received a Notable Mention in Best American Essays 2015.
Vyshali has nearly two decades of teaching experience. She previously taught as an Adjunct Instructor at Rutgers University, Baruch College, Montclair State University, the New School, Yeshiva College, and City College of Technology. She also created and taught 8th-12th grade curricula in English, Creative Writing, and Academic Writing at the Countee Cullen Community Center site of the Harlem Children’s Zone. She regularly teaches University Writing in Columbia University’s summer bridge program for under-resourced incoming freshmen.
Outside of teaching and writing, Vyshali also engages in advocacy efforts by organizations like People for Equality and Relief in Lanka and ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) Action and works on issues of access and equitable labor, particularly for disabled students and NTT faculty. She has volunteered with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and written antiracist and feminist statements, access guides, faculty labor guidelines, and digital codes of conduct. She also dabbles in visual arts and video game writing.
She has won awards for her research, creative writing, and teaching, including a first prize in the disabled word invention contest #BorgDiem for the concept misability; the 2021 LGBTAQ Educator of the Year Award at Pace University; the 2020 Kairos Award for Research in the Graduate Student/NTT Faculty Category; the 2020 Honoring Excellence Faculty Award at Pace University; the 2019 April “Faculty of the Month” student-nominated campus award for teaching and mentorship; and a 2015 Pushcart Prize Nomination and Best American Essays Notable Mention.
Vyshali resides in New York City with her Siberian tabby cat, Athena. She is represented by Mary Krienke at Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.
Photo: Sara Fuller