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About Mekiya – 2023 Edition

Mekiya Outini holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and a BFA in creative writing from UNC Wilmington.


His short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have been published by outlets including Chautauqua, the Michigan Quarterly Review, and Willow Springs. His novel manuscript, Ashes, Ashes, has been selected as a finalist or semifinalist in several contests, and its first two chapters have appeared in the West Trade Review.

He’s also a freelance editor with over ten years of experience spanning academic, professional, and creative texts, from resumés to memoirs. He especially enjoys supporting ESL writers. For more information, check out his services below. 


He co-founded The DateKeepers with Itto in 2022 and now serves as the platform's managing editor. He's also co-authoring Itto's forthcoming memoir, Blindness is the Light of My Life. 

Finally, he's a homemaker husband. Learn more about his domestic pursuits here

Image: Mekiya Walters in a blue button-down and black pants, seated in a black booth at a wooden
Academic Tutoring​ (Writing & Literature)

With over ten years of experience tutoring in college writing centers and as a freelancer, I can support you with every stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to proofreading. As a tutor, I will not proofread or revise your papers, as this would constitute doing your work for you, but I will walk you through the process and provide you with the tools you need to identify, resolve, and eventually avoid common errors and hone your writing in the present and future. Having worked extensively with ESL writers, I approach every project with awareness of how language and culture interact and always strive to explain the oddities of English academic writing within this context. 

Developmental Editing

Developmental editing is a holistic and high-level mode of editing that often results in deep, substantial changes to the manuscript. If you've done a draft or two, but still don't feel quite sure of where your arguments are going and whether they're sufficiently supported by the evidence, or whether your plot is plagued by plot-holes, or what your characters are doing and why, this is probably the service for you. 

Resume & CV Preparation 

When it comes to resumes and CVs, the devil's in the details. In order to highlight the skills and experience that are most relevant to your current aspirations, you need consistent list structures, morphological parallelism, proper punctuation, and so on. (Note: I do not offer AI optimization or visual/aesthetic formatting for resumes.) 

Proofreading & Manuscript Preparation 

Whether it's a book-length manuscript or an academic paper, I can help you prepare your work for publication. My offerings include developmental editing, proofreading, and everything in between, provided these through a tailored combination of written feedback and audio or video calls. My familiarity with MLA, APA, and Chicago/Turabian enables me to edit for a wide range of disciplines. That said, I take different approaches depending on the genre, length, and disciplinary field. 


Books: Literary fiction, memoir, journalism, poetry—I've edited manuscripts in each of these genres and will gladly edit yours as well. I work mainly with authors who plan to self-publish or would like to hone their work before sending it out to the agents and publishers.  


Articles: I've worked with journalistic articles, creative nonfiction essays, and academic papers in disciplines ranging from sociology to literature to microbiology. While I offer developmental and structural editing for all these genres and more, I only copyedit and proofread papers that have already been accepted for publication. 

Structural Editing

Structural editing is the next-most-targeted mode after development editing. It's still fairly holistic, but the structural editor assumes that the "who," "what," "when," "where," and "why" have mostly been worked out already and focuses on the "how." How do we arrange the manuscript? How do we organize the arguments or the chapters? How should this flashback inform our reading of the present action, and where should we put it to achieve that effect? If you know what arguments you want to make or what story you're trying to tell, but it still feels a bit messy, your work might benefit from structural editing. 




  • "The Red Herring." Short story. The Madison Review Extended Cut. 18. November 2022. 

  • "Lorelei's Worm." Short story. Chautauqua Literary Journal. Water Issue (18). June 2021. 

  • "Shibboleth." Short story. The Write Launch. 39. July 2020. 

  • "They Named Her Blue." Short story. Atlantis Magazine. 64. April 2013. 

  • "Stall." Short story. Diverse Voices Quarterly. 13:4.



  • "The Title Is Your Name." Essay. Michigan Quarterly Review. 61:3. July 2022. 

  • "Goa." Essay. Atlantis Magazine. 67. April 2014. 


  • "Soon We'll Sell Ourselves for Parts." Willow Springs Magazine. 89. March 2022. 

  • "Alice." "City of You." Actual Paper Magazine. August 2014. 

  • "Impersonal Birds." "The Jackhammers." Middle Gray Magazine. 4. April 2014. 

  • "Wind Will Be Wind." "The Jackhammers." Episodic Magazine. 5. April 2014. 

  • "Subject Permanence." "Personal Birds." "Chariot." Howl. January 2014. 

  • "Island Hoppers." "Only One." "Buoy." "Remember." "Imaginary Love." Atlantis Magazine. 64. April 2013. 

  • "We Are from the Sea." "Strange Kitchen." Gulf Stream Magazine. 7. April 2012. ​

Every day when I sit down to write, it’s with the goal of making myself—and hopefully others—just a little bit more Hippocratic, and less hypocritical.


  • "The Masala Complex: Rape-Revenge Cinema, Grassroots Feminism, and the Collision of Gazes in Mardaani." Film Matters. 7:1. May 2016. 

  • "Revising Revisionist Herstory: Reconstructing Gender Narratives Before, During, and After the Partition of India." Palaver Interdisciplinary Journal. April 2014. 



  • Review of Triangulum: A Novel, by Masande Ntshanga. Published by Two Dollar Radio. Arkansas International. May 2019. 

  • Review of Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race, by Lara Prior-Palmer. Published by Catapult. Arkansas International. April 2019. 

  • Review of The Archive of Alternate Endings, by Lindsey Drager. Published by Dzanc Books. Arkansas International. March 2019. 

  • Review of Companions in Conflict: Animals in Occupied Palestine, by Penny Johnson. Published by Meliville House. Arkansas International. February 2019. 

  • Review of Night School: A Reader for Grownups, by Zsófia Bán, translated by Jim Tucker. Published by Open Letter. Arkansas International. January 2019. 

  • Review of The Females: A Novel, by Wolfgang Hilbig, translated by Isabel Fargo Cole. Published by Two Lines Press. Arkansas International. November 2018.

  • Review of American Fictionary, by Dubravka Ugrešcic, translated by Celia Hawkesworth and Ellen Elias-Bursac. Published by Open Letter. Arkansas International. September 2018. 


  • Finalist for the 2022 Chanticleer Awards for Short Stories and Essays ("The Man Who Misspelled God"). April 2023. 

  • Finalist for the North Carolina Literary Review's 2023 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize. ("Fleche, Blood.") April 2023. 

  • Finalist for the 2022 Chanticleer Awards for Collections & Novellas (Cassandra Says.) March 2023. 

  • Short-Listed for the 2022 Chanticleer Awards for Short Stories and Essays ("The Cavemen"). March 2023. 

  • Honorable Mention for the 2022 Leapfrog Press Global Fiction Prize (Bathwater, or, The Miseducation of Ness Chairmonte). November 2022.

  • Semi-Finalist for the 2022 Marianne Russo Emerging Writer’s Awards (“The Red Herring”). September 2022. 

  • Semi-Finalist for the 2021 Chanticleer Somerset Awards (Ashes, Ashes: A Novel). April 2022. 

  • Finalist for the 2021 Chanticleer Awards for Short Stories, Novelettes, and Novellas (Bathwater, or, The Miseducation of Ness Chairmonte). May, 2022. 

  • Wait-Listed for the UCross Foundation 2022 Spring Residency Program. November 2021. 

  • Semi-Finalist for the 2021 Marianne Russo Emerging Writer’s Awards (Ashes, Ashes: A Novel). September 2021.

  • Winner of Sunspot Literary Magazine’s 2020 Editor’s Prize (“The Man Who Misspelled God”). December 2020.

  • Honorable Mention for the Miami Book Fair’s 2020 Emerging Writer’s Fellowship (Ashes, Ashes: A Novel). September 2020. 

  • Finalist for the Texas Review’s 2020 George Garret Fiction Prize (Shibboleth: Stories). March 2020. 

The Kitchen

The kitchen’s where we keep the dates and cook the beans.

It all started late in 2021, when Itto’s doctor warned her that she should be taking her gluten allergy seriously. He also advised her to watch her cholesterol. We’d been keeping our fridge stocked with cheese sticks and pasta, but that was a wake-up call. We reduced our dairy intake and started investing in gluten-free flours, pastas, pastries, breads, and more.

Image: Black Bean Nachos Loaded with Veggies, Egg, & Avocado
Image: Italian White Bean Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Parsley, & Parmesan
Image: Shakshuka, an Egyptian tomato-based stew, with poached eggs and raw red onions
Image: Butternut Squash & Spinach Pasta (with Chickpea-Flour Noodles)
Image: Mashed Pinto Bean Patte with Tomatoes, Onion, Cilantro, & Feta Cheese

Before long, though, I started to notice the hairs on the back of my neck standing up whenever I entered the kitchen. I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone, or something, was watching me, but this entity’s identity remained mysterious until, one day, I happened to glance at the labels on some of our gluten-free goodies. Chickpea flour in the cakes, red lentils in the pasta, soybeans in the tofu, cocoa beans in every chocolate bar…and then it hit me: even our coffee comes from beans.

Persephone didn’t even eat the whole pomegranate, and look what happened to her.

Image: Roasted Potatoes & Italian White Bean & Tomato Soup

Nowadays, we spend $65.00 on dry beans (with a standard deviation of $3.50) every time we go to Walmart. I’ve taken up occasional weightlifting using bags of beans instead of barbells. Two or three nights a week, there’s a new legume-based entrée on the table. Our cholesterol’s gone down, and so has our heat bill thanks to the bean-house gases in our atmosphere. I’ve even come to fancy myself a gourmet bean chef—just what every young child aspires to be.


Below, you’ll find a random sampling of legume-based dishes, some tried-and-true classics, some cutting-edge culinary chimeras—all cool beans.

Image: A Cherry-Almond Cake from the Pre-Bean Days
Image: A Rice Bowl with Tofu, Cucumbers, & Toasted Pecans
Image: Red Bean Nachos with Salsa & Guacamole
Image: Sourdough Bread from the Before-Bean Times

The Living Room

The living room is where the stitches drop.  

“Take up knitting,” they said. “It’ll help you relax,” they said.


Clearly, “they” had never met anyone with an anxiety disorder.

Image: A Scarf Speckled with Light Yellow, Blue, & purple Coloration Laid out on the Floor to Block
Image: Family Friend Alison Dalby Modeling a Triangular Yellow Shawl
Image: Mekiya Outini Grinning while Knitting a Light Blue Shawl

I’ve come to love knitting, but not because I find it relaxing. Far from it. Producing a reversible cabled scarf with baubles is, for me, the approximate adrenal equivalent of rappelling up a rockface or base jumping off a waterfall. Whenever I get to the end of a row and discover an extra stitch loitering, I have to resist the temptation to call 911. Every minor error threatens to upend my day, my week, my year, etc. Please keep this in mind while perusing the textile babies I’ve managed to birth—for none spared me the pains of their labor.

Image: Mekiya & Itto Sitting and Talking while Mekiya Knits
Image: Mekiya and Itto Cuddling and Reading an Audiobook while Mekiya Knits a Scarf with Alternating Sections (Purple & Autumn Leaves)
Image by Nahil Naseer

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