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Fellows and Their Topics for the Year 2008-2009

Deborah Baker
The Convert
 
Deborah Baker is the author of the literary biography In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding. In 2008 Penguin will publish her book A Blue Hand: The Beats in India, a nonfiction narrative that explores the idea of India in the American imagination. At the Cullman Center, Baker will be researching and writing about the life of Maryam Jameelah, née Margaret Marcus, who left America for Lahore, Pakistan, in 1962 to become the protégée of Abul A’la Maudoodi, the intellectual founder of political Islam.
 
Anna Bikont
Ryszard Kapuscinski's "Magic Journalism"
Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellow
 
Anna Bikont, a senior writer and co-founder of Gazeta Wyborcza, the largest daily in Central Europe and the first independent newspaper in democratic Poland, is the award-winning author of eight books, including Wieslawa Szymborska's Dusty Keepsakes, Friends, and DreamsThe Avalanche and the Stones; and We, of Jedwabne. She will spend her year at the Cullman Center conducting research for a biography of the Polish journalist, author, and poet Ryszard Kapuscinski.
 
Akeel Bilgrami
Gandhi’s Integrity
 
Akeel Bilgrami, the Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, directs the University’s Heyman Center for the Humanities and serves on Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought. He is the author of Belief and Meaning and Self-Knowledge and Resentment, and will publish two new books in 2009 – Politics and the Moral Psychology of Identity and What Is a Muslim? At the Cullman Center, he will be working on a short book on Gandhi's philosophy and a larger project on the nature of practical reason.
 
Deborah Cohen
Family Secrets: The Rise of Confessional Culture in Britain, 1840-1990
 
Deborah Cohen teaches modern British and European history at Brown University. Her first book, The War Come Home: Disabled Veterans in Germany and Great Britain, 1914-1939, won the Social Science History Association's Allan Sharlin Memorial Award, and her second, Household Gods: The British and Their Possessions, won the American Historical Association's Forkosch Prize and the North American Conference on British Studies' Albion Prize. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on a study of family secrets and the rise of confessional culture.
 
Andrew Sean Greer
Many Worlds, A Novel
 
Andrew Sean Greer is the author of a collection of stories, How It Was for Me, and three novels: The Path of Minor PlanetsThe Confessions of Max Tivoli, and The Story of a Marriage. He has received the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, The New York Public Library Young Lions Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. At the Cullman Center, he will be working on a novel imagining the effects of different eras on a man's life and character.
 
Daniel J. Kevles
Vital Properties: A History of Innovation and Ownership in the Stuff of Life
Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellow
 
Daniel J. Kevles, the Stanley Woodward Professor of History at Yale University, teaches and writes about issues in science and society, past and present. His books include In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human HeredityThe Physicists: The History of a Scientific Community in Modern America, and The Baltimore Case: A Trial of Politics, Science, and Character. He has received numerous honors and prizes, including a Page One Award, the Watson Davis Prize, and the History of Science Society's George Sarton Medal for career achievement. At the Cullman Center, he will be working on a book about the history of intellectual property in living organisms from the late eighteenth century to recent times.
 
Hari Kunzru
The Book of Birbal
 
Hari Kunzru, the author of the novels The Impressionist, Transmission, and My Revolutions, has had his work translated into twenty-one languages and won a number of Prizes, including the Somerset Maugham Award, the Betty Trask prize of the Society of Authors, and a British Book Award. In 2003 Granta named him one of Britain’s twenty best young novelists. At the Cullman Center, he will be working on a novel set at the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar.
 
Robert G. O’Meally
The Literary Romare Bearden
 
Robert G. O’Meally is the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he founded The Center for Jazz Studies. His books include The Craft of Ralph EllisonLady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday, and The Jazz Singers. He has edited several anthologies, including The Jazz Cadence of American Culture and The Norton Anthology of Afro-American Literature, and has won awards for his liner notes and for his work as writer for the PBS documentary based on his book on Billie Holiday. He will work at the Cullman Center on a project about Bearden's literary sources and collaborations.
 
Julie Orringer
Varian Fry, A Novel
The Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow
 
Julie Orringer is the author of an award-winning story collection, How to Breathe Underwater, and of a novel, The Invisible Bridge. Her stories have been published inThe Paris ReviewThe Yale ReviewThe Washington PostZoetrope All-Story, andPloughshares, and have been widely anthologized. She has received fellowships from Stanford University, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the National Endowment for the Arts. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on a novel about Varian Fry, the New York journalist who helped nearly two thousand Jewish and anti-Nazi refugees escape Europe during the Holocaust.
 
Lauren Redniss
Radioactive: An Atomic Love Story
 
Lauren Redniss regularly contributes Op-Art pieces to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. Slate Magazine named her first book, Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton TravisLast Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies, one of the 10 Best Books of 2006. Redniss teaches at the Parsons School of Design. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on an illustrated nonfiction book about Marie and Pierre Curie and the history of radioactivity.
 
Martha Saxton
The Widow Washington
The Gilder Lehrman Fellow in American History
 
Martha Saxton is a Professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies at Amherst College. She has written biographies of Jayne Mansfield and Louisa May Alcott. Her most recent book, Being Good: Women’s Moral Values in Early America, examines women’s ethical lives across three regions, two centuries, and diverse racial cultures. Saxton received a Bunting Fellowship from Radcliffe College. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on a biography of Mary Ball Washington, the mother of the founding father.
 
Laura Secor
Fugitives from Paradise: A Biography of Iran’s Movement for Democracy
 
Laura Secor, a journalist, has written on Iran for The New YorkerThe New York Times Magazine, and The New Republic. She has been a staff editor of The New York TimesOp-Ed page, a reporter for the Boston Globe, acting executive editor of The American Prospect, and a senior editor and writer for Lingua Franca. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on a book about the movement for democratic reform in Iran.
 
Lore Segal
A novel, provisionally titled Laputa
 
Lore Segal’s novels include Other People’s HousesHer First American, which won an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, andShakespeare’s Kitchen. Segal has also published essays, translations, and books for children. Her Cullman Center project takes its title from the island in Gulliver's Travels whose inhabitants never die, and will offer a satirical look at our over-long modern lives.
 
Ezra Tawil
Literary Exceptionalism and the European Origins of the “American Style”
 
Ezra Tawil teaches early American literature in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of The Making of Racial Sentiment: Slavery and the Birth of the Frontier Romance. At the Cullman Center, he will be working on a book about the eighteenth-century origins of American literary exceptionalism and the notion of an "American style" within anglophone writing.
 
Rosanna Warren
Mistral, A Book of Poems
 
Rosanna Warren is the author of a chapbook and three books of poems, including, most recently, Departure. Her critical book, Fables of the Self: Studies in Lyric Poetry, will be published by Norton in September 2008. With Stephen Scully, Warren translated Euripides' Suppliant Women for the Oxford Tragedy Series, and she has edited anthologies of poems written by prisoners. She is a past president of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, and teaches English and French literature at Boston University. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on a book of poems that draws on the historical collections of the Library.