Eight women writers–including Rebecca Makkai, Maaza Mengiste and Melissa Febos–among those chosen for prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships

180 scientists, writers, scholars, and artists honored across 51 fields

On April 7, 2022, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of 180 exceptional individuals. Chosen from a rigorous application and peer review process out of almost 2500 applicants, these successful applicants were appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise. See the list of new Fellows here.

“Now that the past two years are hopefully behind all of us, it is a special joy to celebrate the Guggenheim Foundation’s new class of Fellows,” said Edward Hirsch, President of the Guggenheim Foundation and 1985 Fellow in Poetry. “This year marks the Foundation’s 97th annual Fellowship competition. Our long experience tells us what an impact these annual grants will have to change people’s lives. The work supported by the Foundation will aid in our collective effort to better understand the new world we’re in, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. It is an honor for the Foundation to help the Fellows carry out their visionary work.”

In all, 51 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 81 different academic institutions, 31 states and the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from 33 to 75. Close to 60 Fellows have no full-time college or university affiliation. Many Fellows’ projects directly respond to issues like climate change, pandemics, Russia, feminism, identity, and racism.

Ten writers received fellowships in Fiction:

  • Jennifer Croft, Writer, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Hernan Diaz, Writer, Brooklyn, New York; Associate Director, Hispanic Institute, Columbia University
  • Brandon Hobson, Writer, Las Cruces, New Mexico; Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, New Mexico State University
  • Ladee Hubbard, Writer, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Alexandra Kleeman, Writer, Staten Island, New York
  • Rebecca Makkai, Writer, Lake Forest, Illinois; Artistic Director, StoryStudio Chicago
  • Dinaw Mengestu, Writer, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of the Humanities, and Director, Written Arts Program, Bard College
  • Maaza Mengiste, Writer, Bronx, New York; Professor of English, Wesleyan University
  • C. E. Morgan, Writer, Bethlehem, New Hampshire
  • Lysley Tenorio, Writer, San Francisco, California; Professor of English, Saint Mary’s College of California

Jennifer Croft is the author of the memoir, Homesick, but is best known for translating the complex novels of Polish Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk. Ladee Hubbard is the author of The Rib King and a new short story collection, The Last Suspicious Holdout. Alexandra Kleeman has published three distinctively skewed works of fiction: You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine, Intimations: Stories, and Something New Under the Sun.

Rebeccca Makkai‘s The Great Believers, about a group of friends in Chicago during the AIDS crisis, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. Maaza Mengiste is the author of the acclaimed novel about Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, The Shadow King (2019). C. E. Morgan‘s The Sport of Kings, a family saga set in the world of Kentucky horse racing, was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist and received the 2016 Kirkus Prize.

Two acclaimed women writers received fellowships in General Nonfiction:

  • Rebecca Donner, Writer, Brooklyn, New York
  • Melissa Febos, Writer, Iowa City, Iowa; Associate Professor, Nonfiction Writing Program, University of Iowa

Rebecca Donner recently won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography for All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the Resistance to Hitler. Melissa Febos won a NBCC Award in Criticism for Girlhood. Her latest book, Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative, was published last month.

Created and initially funded in 1925 by Senator Simon and Olga Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon Guggenheim, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has sought since its inception to “further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions.”

Since its establishment, the Foundation has granted nearly $400 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors. The great range of fields of study is a unique characteristic of the Fellowship program.

The Foundation centers the talents and instincts of the Fellows, whose passions often have broad and immediate impact. For example, Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1936 with the support of a Guggenheim Fellowship and dedicated it to the Foundation’s first president, Henry Allen Moe. Photographer Robert Frank’s seminal book, The Americans, was the product of a cross-country tour supported by two Guggenheim Fellowships. The accomplishments of other early Fellows like Jacob Lawrence, Rachel Carson, James Baldwin, Martha Graham, and Linus Pauling also demonstrate the strength of the Foundation’s core values and the power and impact of its approach.

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