Vivek Narayanan was born in India and raised in Zambia. He earned an MA in cultural anthropology from Stanford University, and an MFA in creative writing from Boston University.
Narayanan's books of poems include Universal Beach (Harbour Line Press, 2006/In Girum Books, 2011), Life and Times of Mr S (HarperCollins India, 2012), and After (New York Review of Books, 2022). A full-length collection of his poems was translated into Swedish and published in 2015 by the Stockholm-based Wahlström & Widstrand. He was the coeditor of Almost Island, an India-based literary journal, from 2007 to 2019. His essays, criticism, and poetry have appeared in Agni, Granta, The Village Voice, The Paris Review, Harvard Review, Caravan, and elsewhere, and his poems have been included in anthologies such as The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (Bloodaxe), The Oxford Poets Anthology 2013 (Carcanet), 60 Indian Poets (Penguin), and Language for a New Century (W.W. Norton).
Narayanan was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University (2013-14), and a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library (2015-16). He has taught history, anthropology and creative writing in many places, including the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, and the Center for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi. He teaches in the MFA program at George Mason University.