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.
She and Mark Polanzak are the founding editors of draft: the journal of process, a literary journal. draft features first and final drafts of stories, poems, and essays, along with author interviews about the creative process.
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, 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. She currently serves as a board member for the UNESCO City of Literature.
Rachel’s short story “On Innocence” was a runner-up for The Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award. Her work has also been awarded The Editors’ Prize in Fiction by The Missouri Review and with notable distinctions in Best American Short Stories and Best American Nonrequired Reading.
Rachel also hosts The Fail Safe, an interview podcast that explores how today’s most successful writers grapple with and learn from creative failure. From the blank page to the broken sentence, The Fail Safe examines the many challenges and pitfalls of the literary life. 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.