Mildred Barya, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of English

Contact Information

  • 251-6573
  • 218 Karpen Hall

On leave

My creative and literary practice engages the craft of world literatures and experimental narrative forms through which I facilitate encounters between languages and movement across or beyond genre binaries and artistic fields. I draw experiences from my multicultural and international training in my investigation of how we read, write, and understand narratives across cultures, languages and disciplines. On the one hand, I am interested in the theories and practices that inform our criticism and philosophies. On the other hand, I explore how creative writing can reinvent new forms and poetics as a result of interacting with disciplines like music, literature, visual art, history, philosophy, urban planning, depth psychology, anthropology, geography, and cultural studies. The imaginal realm of dreams also inspires innovative narrative methods since it avails opportunities for speculative trajectories and to perceive in new ways transdisciplinary concepts of time, space, vision, structure, consciousness, and the collective unconscious.

Current research, teaching, and scholarship involves creative hybrid forms, African and diaspora literature, Indigenous epistemologies, Ancient Egypt, Fabulist and Science fiction, Magical realism, Divinatory poetics, Trickster Hermeneutics, Liminal/Ritual Spaces, Travel writing, Transnational geographies, and migratory aesthetics of translated literature as it parallels the human body, if or when conditioned to a life of arrivals and departures, without ever residing permanently in a single space, tongue or national body.

I have given readings, creative writing workshops and lectures in parts of China, Africa, Europe, and the US. I also coordinate Poetrio Events at Malaprop’s Independent BookStore/Café and serve on the board of African Writers Trust. Visit my blog at


  • B.A., Makerere University
  • M.F.A., Syracuse University
  • Ph.D., University of Denver

Recent Teaching

  • LANG 494: Senior Seminar in Creative Writing
  • LIT 369: World Literature—Japanese
  • LANG 361 Poetry Writing Workshop
  • LIT 371 Translation Theory
  • LIT 373 The Short Story Craft
  • LIT 497 Senior Seminar I
  • LIT 498 Senior Seminar II
  • LANG 260 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • LANG 120 Academic Writing and Critical Inquiry
  • LIT 240 Introduction to Literature
  • LANG 363 Fiction Writing Workshop


Hybrids and Creative Non-Fiction

  • “The Scent of You Lingers” travel narrative, forthcoming, Matters of Feminist Practice, Belladonna* Collaborative, 2019
  • “Intersections of poetic prose and visual art in Yvonne Vera’s works” forthcoming, Black Chalk and Co, 2019
  • “Shuddering Expansion, Where Home Is” published in Asymptote. July, 2018
  • “Factors” published in Tin House Magazine, Summer Issue, 2017. Reprinted on, Academy of American Poets, 2018
  • “In winter Basil fights for dear life, then succumbs” published in, 2018
  • “Locusts” Tiferet Online Journal, 2018
  • “The Good Guest,” published in World on the Move, BBC schools pack, UK, 2008


  • Extract of “How to Live in a Desert: A Manual” print exhibit at the conference: “Imagining Justice"presented by the National Women's Studies Association 2018 Visual and Literary Arts, November 8th-11th at the Hilton, Atlanta.
  • “Liberated” poem, In Times Like These Art and Politics Exhibit at Pink Dog Creative, May, 2019
  • “Black and Maroon/Stag Beetles” poem in A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, University of Georgia Press, 2019.
  • “The fire people” reprinted on, Academy of American Poets, 2018
  • “The heart, the heart, the hunger” published in Lady/Liberty/Lit June, 2018
  • “This Too is Home” and “The Blood Bath” two poems published in Fire on the Mountain Anthology, Dovesong Educational Publishers Ltd, Kampala, 2018
  • “The City of Antelope” and “Piano Lessons” in Capitals: Poetry Anthology on Capital Cities of the World, ed. Abhay K, 2017
  • “Ergonomics” in Truck, 2016
  • “Ode to the Sheep” Prairie Schooner, 2016
  • “The fire people” Poetry Quarterly, 2015
  • “Seen City” and “Unseen City” in Kampala Poetry Anthology, BN Publication, 2015
  • “October” “Going Home” and “The Sink” in Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings, Jane Plastow, Vol 14, (2014) School of English, University of Leeds, p90-91.
  • “Stormy Heart” in A Thousand Voices Rising: An Anthology of Contemporary African
  • Poetry, ed. Beverley N Nsengiyunva, Gilgal Media Arts, Kampala, (2014) p13-14.
  • “Resolution” in Feminist Challenges in the Information Age, ed. Christiane Floyd, et al. Leske + Budrich, Opladen, 2002

Poetry Books

  • Editor, Kampala Poetry Anthology: Boda Boda Anthem & Other Poems, Babishai Niwe, 2015
  • Give Me Room to Move My Feet, Amalion Publishing, Dakar, Senegal, 2009
  • The Price of Memory After the Tsunami, Mallory International Ltd, UK, 2006
  • Men Love Chocolates But They Don’t Say, New Vision, Uganda, 2002

Short stories

  • “Black Stone” short story republished in New Daughters of Africa Anthology, Myriad/New Internationalist, UK, 2019
  • “The boy who loved” KUT Magazine, 2015
  • “Bless the Broken Pathpublished by Northeast Review, 2014
  • “Black Stone” published in Per Contra journal, US, 2012
  • “Land of my Bones” published in Dreams, Miracles and Jazz Anthology, Picador, SA, 2008
  • “What was left of us” Pambazuka News Online, 2008
  • “Effigy Child” republished in Gifts of Harvest Anthology, FEMRITE, Uganda, 2006. (First published by Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, UK, 2004)
  • “Scars of Earth” published in African Love Stories Anthology, Ayebia Clarke Publishing Ltd, UK, 2006
  • “Those Days of Ebola” in Dhana literary journal, Makerere University, Uganda, 2002
  • “Raindrops” published in Words from a Granary Anthology, FEMRITE, Uganda, 2001

Novel extract

  • “What Was Left Behind,” in The Literary Review, NJ, 2009


  • “On Time, Place, and the Diaspora Writer” Commonwealth Foundation, 2015
  • “The Future of African Writing” Pambazuka News Online, 2011
  • “Reflections on the Significance of Africa Day” African Writing Online, 2008
  • “Africa Needs Her Promise” CODESRIA, Senegal. 2004
  • “Woemen’s Experience of Warrepublished in Caring Magazine, USA. (First published by Women’s World of Literature and Publishing, USA. 2002)


  • Varda Artists Residency Program, Sausalito—California. June, 2019
  • Sylt Foundation two-month International African Writers’ Residency Award, Germany, 2018
  • Varda Artists Residency Program, Sausalito—California. June, 2017
  • Summer seminars fellowship at Cornell University School of Criticism and Theory, Ithaca, NY, 2015
  • University of Denver PhD studies fellowship, Fall 2013-Spring 2016
  • Cornelia Carhart Ward Fellow, Syracuse University MFA program, 2009-2012
  • Pan Africa Literary Forum Prize (PALF) for Fiction, 2008
  • Writer in Residence, TrustAfrica, Dakar, Senegal, August 2007-August 2009
  • Writer in Residence, Per Sesh Writing Program, Popenguine, Senegal, 2006-2007
  • Africa Needs Her Promise 3rd prize, CODESRIA essay writing competition, Dec, 2003
  • Selected Fellow, Crossing Borders Editing Module, British Council Program, 2003
  • Uganda National Award for poetry collection, Men Love Chocolates But They Don’t Say, 2002

Conference Presentations, Lectures, and Readings

  • Reading at Get off the Grid Festival, Warren Wilson Campus, 10 August 2019
  • Reading at Studio 333, Sausalito, California. 13 June, 2019
  • 3 FM Talk Show with Wordplay, 19 May, 2019
  • Reading at Trade & Lore Coffee, 18 April, 2019
  • Asheville Wordfest, Panel presentation & Reading, 13 April, 2019
  • Reading at West End Bakery & Café, Asheville, 24 February, 2019
  • Reading at Malaprops, 18 March, 2019
  • Presentation at Deckle Edge Literary Festival, Richland Library, Columbia, SC. March, 2019
  • English Department Faculty Reading, Laurel Forum. 14 February, 2019
  • MLK Reading Event, The BLOCK off Biltmore. January, 2019
  • “Writing Across and Beyond: A Conversation on Innovating Narrative Forms” Panel, &Now Conference at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. October, 2018
  • “ Migrating Texts, Migrating Tongues” Panel, &Now Conference at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. October, 2018
  • Reading, FemFeels: Women Moving Mountains at The BLOCK off Biltmore. November, 2018
  • Feed the Need—benefiting Manna FoodBank at Isis Music Hall. December, 2018
  • Lecture & Reading at Spartanburg Methodist College. September, 2018
  • Reading, The Human Side, at The BLOCK off Biltmore. September, 2018
  • Reading at Poetry on the Road, Bremen-Germany. June, 2018
  • Reading at Crow & Quill, Asheville. May, 2018
  • “A Haunting Gaze: Writing About and Toward Others.” AWP conference, Tampa. March, 2018
  • Reading on the Quad—UNCA Languages & Cultures in Action, ArtsFest Celebrations, 2018
  • Reading and poetry writing workshop facilitator in Malawi Poetry Festival. March, 2018
  • Reading and participating in Asheville Wordfest. April, 2018
  • Reading at Revolve@RAMP Gallery. February, 2018 and April, 2018
  • Reading and interview on Wordplay program, 103.3 Asheville FM Radio. January, 2018
  • Reading at Asheville Poetry Series, The BLOCK off Biltmore. October, 2017
  • Reading at Poetry Cabaret Collective, The Altamont Theatre, Asheville. October, 2017
  • Reading and talk, Pints w/Professors at Habitat Tavern and Commons. Asheville. September, 2017
  • Reading at Adobe Bookstore, San Francisco, CA. July, 2017
  • Reading at Sausalito Public Library, CA. July, 2017
  • Presentation at New Faculty Lecture Series, UNCA Laurel Forum. November, 2016
  • Reading at UNCA Creative Writing Faculty Reading November, 2016
  • Presentation and Reading on Translations Project at Dikeou Gallery, Denver. November, 2015
  • Presentation at MFA Education Panelfor English Majors considering pursuing the degree. University of Denver. October, 2015
  • Reading at Buffalo Street Bookstore, Ithaca, NY. July, 2015
  • Facilitator & Chair for the Conference Session: “Successful Literary Initiatives in Africa” at the Uganda International Writers Conference, organized by African Writers Trust, 2015
  • Master of Ceremonies & host for the Public Reading Event at the Uganda International Writers Conference, 2015
  • Guest Speaker & facilitator with BN Poetry Foundation workshop, African Rural University, Uganda, 2014
  • Guest speaker & writing workshop facilitator for the Conference, “Defining Possibilities, Realizing Opportunities: Cultural Exchange & Engagement in Africa-China Relations” organized by the Digital Humanities Platform, Shantou University, Guangdong, China 2014
  • Presentation on the Panel: Speaking, Listening, Stories & Textual Inventions at the Conference: “Thinking its Presence: Race and Creative Writing,” University of Montana, Missoula, 2014
  • Reading at University of Denver, 2014
  • Fishbowl Reading at University of Denver, 2013