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Get to Know the Faculty: Khem K. Aryal


Without question, Khem Aryal presents us with one of the most global foursomes for coffee in our Get to Know series. Learn more about Khem’s inner writer and his love for Bali.

Khem K. Aryal

Khem K. Aryal

Place of birth:
Palpa, Nepal
Rita Regmi – Spouse; Suyog – Son (7-yr old)
Why did you choose A-State?
Friendly environment, my department is very supportive of what I do as a writer, a scholar, and a teacher
What makes a good professor?
Love for students, the ability to connect with them, the urge to help them succeed in life.
Who was your favorite teacher (and why)?
Speer Morgan from the University of Missouri. He valued what students brought to the table.
What is your favorite podcast?
New Yorker Radio Hour
My favorite motion picture is...
Midnight in Paris.
What makes for a good student?
The ability to challenge themselves and the ability to work within a certain level uncertainty. I want my students to be boundary-crossers instead of boundary-guarders so that they can venture into new territories of learning.
Four people I’d take to coffee...
V.S. Naipaul, Alice Munro, my friend Gopi Sapkota who lives in London, and any one of my friends from the department
Only my friends know I...
published a ghazal collection under a pen name as an undergraduate.
What’s the value of a university education?
The university is a philosophy; it’s not only about learning just X, Y, or Z but about how things in the world work. University education better prepares students for life, not just for a job. (And therein lies the value of the liberal arts.)
My favorite trip was...
Bali, Indonesia.
If I could travel anywhere it would be...
Bali, again!
Your philosophy on education in seven words:
Education should help us become better people.
If you could teach another field, which one and why?
Philosophy perhaps. I often find myself reflecting on the nature of the world, human predicament, the reason (or the lack of it) for us to exist.
What music is playing in your car?
Nepali folk music to Hindi ghazals and Arabic songs, and also folk/rock by Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion, and recently added Shawn Mendes because of my 7-year old son.
What is the one thing you wish you could teach everyone about your field?
That writing matters, that humanities and the liberal arts as a whole are important.
What are you working on right now?
Final (supposedly) editing a novel and a short story collection
Before I retire I want to...
write a book that I can keep reading without being tempted to edit it yet another time.
In college, I was known for...
being reserved (I wrote poetry).
The television series I must TiVo...
Parts Unknown.
The last book I read for fun was...
Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
The best advice I ever received was...
be yourself!
What is the one thing I’ve learned I’d tell my college self...
Get out of your closed circle, make the best of your time. It won’t come back again.
My hobby is...
writing, hiking, and reading.
My passion is...
writing and humanitarian service.
My pro sports team is...
My pet peeve is...
people who are a little too judgmental.
My favorite meal is...
momo, mutton barbecue
A perfect day is...
when I can do a decent amount of writing or editing early in the day
What I like about Jonesboro is...
the beautiful A-State campus.
Cats or dogs?
E-book or hardback?
Beach or mountains?
Dinner or supper?
I wish I could...
write a book a year.
My favorite saying is...
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”