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I’m Haylie Brooke Swenson (Dr. Haylie if you’re nasty), a writer and educator currently living in Austin, Texas. I recently finished a PhD in English with a focus on animal studies, and I write about a lot of things, but especially animals and the environment. Right now I’m working on the first episode of my podcast, Creature, about how animals shape human culture.

I grew up in California and Oregon and studied Biology and English at Pacific University. After college, I worked for five years in conservation education at the Oregon Zoo, National Aquarium, and Maryland Zoo.

In the second year of my master’s degree, I won the Michael Camille Essay Prize for my essay about a medieval sketchbook artist who claimed that his drawing of a lion was “contrefais al vif” (drawn from life). My PhD dissertation, “Dog, Horse, Rat: Humans and Animals at the Margins of Life,” focuses on how vulnerable human characters form empathetic relationships with animals in a variety of plays, novels, and films.

I love books, animals, perfume, art museums, Twitter (God save us), and working with people. I hate potato salad, mayonnaise, and dodgeball. If you would like to hire me, ask me a question, or vent about a shared hate, you can email me. For more of my writing, subscribe to my newsletter.


Doctor of Beasts, Pain, Hurricanes, Pleasure, Witches, and Tenderness.