Rachel Yoder grew up in a Mennonite community in the Appalachian foothills of eastern Ohio. She now lives in Iowa City with her husband and son.
Rachel earned an MFA in Fiction from the University of Arizona and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Iowa, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow. She has taught writing at the University of Iowa, the University of Arizona, Prescott College, & The Midwest Writing Center. At Prescott College she also served as the Managing Editor of Alligator Juniper, the college's award-winning literary journal.
She is the former director of the Iowa Youth Writing Project, a literary outreach organization, and currently serves as the Literary Programming Director for Mission Creek Festival as well as a board member for the UNESCO City of Literature.
She and Mark Polanzak are the founding editors of draft: the journal of process, which features first and final drafts of stories, poems, and essays, along with author interviews about the creative process.
She also hosts The Fail Safe, an interview podcast that explores how today’s most successful writers grapple with and learn from creative failure. Produced collaboratively by draft: the journal of process and The Iowa Writers’ House, The Fail Safe provides encouragement for anyone who’s ever wanted to write and pulls back the curtain on the creative process for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the writer-at-work.
Rachel's short story "On Innocence" was a runner-up for The Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Award. Her work has also been awarded with The Editors' Prize in Fiction by The Missouri Review and with notable distinctions in Best American Short Stories and Best American Nonrequired Reading.