The New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers has selected its thirteenth class of Fellows: fifteen diverse and extraordinary creative writers, independent scholars, and academics. The Fellows, whose appointments were announced today by Library President Dr. Paul LeClerc and Jean Strouse, the Sue Ann and John Weinberg Director of the Center, were selected from a pool of 274 applicants from 22 countries. Pursuing a wide array of book projects—ranging from the 1952 World Table Tennis Championships in Bombay to matters of race in 20th century New York to the British roots of American religious freedom—the fellows will have full access to the unparalleled research collections and online resources of The New York Public Library’s landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. They will be in residence at the Center from September 2011 through May 2012.
Pediatric oncologist and celebrated fiction writer Chris Adrian is one of the 15 writers and scholars in the 2011 class of Cullman Center fellows. The Cullman Center Class of 2011-2012 includes:
v Acclaimed writers Álvaro Enrigue (from Mexico), Jonathan Safran Foer, Kate Walbert, and Chris Adrian
v Cultural commentators Ian Buruma and Darryl Pinckney
v The poets James Fenton and Elizabeth Spires
v Professor Shamus Khan writing about social elites; Professor Susan Pedersen writing about the League of Nations
v Peter Constantine translating stories by Chekhov
v The illustrator, artist, and designer Jacob Weinstein
v A number of other distinguished writers and scholars.
“The diversity of this year’s talent is a testament to the cultural integrity of The New York Public Library and due to the generous spirit of Dorothy and Lewis Cullman,” said the Library’s President, Paul LeClerc. "As the building enters its Centennial year, the fellows will experience first-hand the magnificent depth of the Library and, I have no doubt, delight in its capabilities."
Jean Strouse, the Cullman Center’s Director, said, “I greatly look forward to welcoming this remarkable class of writers and scholars to the Center, the Library, and, in several cases, to New York. It will be thrilling to see what each of them discovers in the Library's immensely rich resources, to watch their projects taking shape, and ultimately to read the books they write.”
Each Fellow receives a stipend, a private office in the Cullman Center’s handsome quarters on the second floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and the invaluable assistance of the Library’s curatorial and reference staff.
The Center fosters an atmosphere of creative and scholarly collaboration both within the Library and in the larger cultural environment of New York, through informal lunches and public programs, as well as through workshops and summer seminars for New York City middle and high school teachers.
Many Cullman Center Fellows have published critically acclaimed works based on the research and writing they did while in residence at the Library. Some of the recent books include Lauren Redniss’ s Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, a Tale of Love and Fallout;, David Blight’s A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom; Nathan Englander’s The Ministry of Special Cases; Paul Freedman’s Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination; Linda Gordon’s Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits; Susan Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason; Andrew Meier’s The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin’s Secret Service; Danzy Senna’s Where Did You Sleep Last Night?; James Shapiro’s Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?; Laurie Sheck’s A Monster’s Notes; T.J. Stiles’s The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt.
For more information about the Center, its current and former Fellows, and its programs for teachers and the general public, visit www.nypl.org/csw.
About the 2011-2012 Fellows
Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers
A Good Creature, a collection of stories
The David S. Ferriero Fellow
Chris Adrian is the author of two novels, "Gob's Grief" and "The Children's Hospital," and a collection of stories, "A Better Angel." His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Paris Review, among other publications. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Adrian completed his training in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2010. At the Cullman Center he will be working on a short story collection that examines American Puritans and their intellectual and spiritual heirs, 1630 to 2008.
1945: Life in Ruins
Ian Buruma is a writer, journalist, and professor at Bard College. He was educated in Holland and Japan, where he studied history, Chinese literature, and Japanese cinema. His essays, covering a broad range of political and cultural subjects, have appeared in publications including The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Il Corriere della Sera, and NRC Handelsblad. The book he will be working on at the Cullman Center, 1945: Life in Ruins, is about the immediate aftermath of World War II in Europe and Asia.
Fifty Newly Translated Stories by Anton Chekhov (Translation)
Peter Constantine is a literary translator and editor. His recent translations include Sophocles’s Theban Trilogy, The Essential Writings of Machiavelli, and works by Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Voltaire. A 2010 Guggenheim Fellow, Constantine was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann and a National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov. During his year at the Cullman Center, he will be translating some of Chekov’s overlooked early stories.
"Private Faces in Public Places": Modern Poetry and the First Person Plural
Bonnie Costello is Professor of English at Boston University. She is the author of many books and articles on modern and contemporary poetry, including, most recently, Shifting Ground: Reinventing Landscape in Modern American Poetry, and Planets on Tables: Poetry, Still Life and the Turning World. She is the General Editor of The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore anda Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Costello will be working at the Cullman Center on a book about modern poetry's use of the first person plural, especially in the context of the 1930s, a decade that fostered new reflections on voice, audience, and address.
Birds (working title; a novel)
Álvaro Enrigue is the author of four novels and two collections of short stories, including La muerte de un instalador (The Death of an Installation Artist), Vidas perpendiculares (Perpendicular Lives), and Hipotermia (Hypothermia – to be published in 2012). Enrigue has received Mexico’s Joaquín Mortiz Prize for a first novel, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at Bellagio, and the Whitney J. Oates Fellowship at Princeton. His work has been translated into several languages. Enrigue teaches at the Film School of the National Institute for the Arts in Mexico, and writes a column for El Universal in Mexico City. At the Cullman Center he will work on a novel constructed around a fictional tennis match between Caravaggio and the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo in Rome.
The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellow
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James Fenton is a prize-winning poet, a journalist, a literary and theater critic, and an art historian. Penguin published his Selected Poems in 2006. As a journalist, Fenton has reported from Indochina and the Philippines. His essays on art for The New York Review of Books were published in a volume called Leonardo's Nephew. His other books include School of Genius, A History of the Royal Academy of Arts; The Strength of Poetry: Oxford Lectures; and Out of Danger (poems), which won the Whitbread Prize. While he is at the Cullman Center, he will be working on the history of biographical genres for a study called Life Writing.
Jonathan Safran Foer
Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the novels Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, as well as Eating Animals, a non-fiction exploration of animal agriculture. His work has won numerous awards and been translated into 35 languages. During his year at the Cullman Center he will be working on a novel about technology and new failures to communicate.
Empire of Faiths: The British Origins of American Religious Freedom
The Gilder Lehrman Fellow in American History
Evan Haefeli is an Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University. He has written about captivity narratives; the New England frontier; witchcraft; ethnic revolts; colonial book publishing; and religious toleration in New Amsterdam and early New York. Drawing on the diversity of peoples, languages, beliefs, and politics in colonial America, and on the relations – religious and violent, friendly and legendary, personal and imperial – between them, the book he will be working on at the Cullman Center will trace the proud American democratic tradition to its imperial origins.
Exceptional: Elite New York and the Story of American Inequality
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow
The author of Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School, which explores a year in the life of one of America’s most elite boarding schools, Shamus Khan teaches in the sociology department at Columbia University. At the Cullman Center he will be working on Exceptional: Elite New York and the Story of American Inequality, a monograph that will pursue his interest in understanding inequality by studying elites.
The League of Nations and the Transformation of the Global Order
The Birkelund Fellow
Susan Pedersen is Professor of History and the James P. Shenton Professor of the Core Curriculum at Columbia University. She is the author of Family, Dependence, and the Origins of the Welfare State: Britain and France, 1914-1945, and of a biography of Eleanor Rathbone, the interwar feminist and social reformer. She plans to complete a book on the impact of the League of Nations on the imperial order during her Cullman Center year.
After Dark: Race Mixing in the Margins, 1931-1971
An essayist and novelist, Darryl Pinckney is the author of the novel High Cotton and Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature (The Alain Locke Lectures). He is a recipient of the Harold Vursell Award for Distinguished Prose from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His essays and reviews appear frequently in The New York Review of Books. At the Cullman Center he will work on a book about New York at night in the middle decades of the 20th century, when day-time rules about race dissolved, when the self could be lost and reinvented between the Village and Harlem.
Adam Shatz is a writer and editor at the London Review of Books. A graduate of Columbia University, he served as literary editor of The Nation magazine from 2003 to 2007, and has contributed reviews and essays on jazz, literature, and the politics of the Middle East and North Africa to The New York Review of Books and The New York Times. The subject of his Cullman Center project is the emergence of black bohemia on New York’s Lower East Side in the Late 50s, when black writers, artists, and musicians were drawn to the neighborhood by its cheap rent and reputation for racial tolerance. Hanging out in the same bookshops, bars and clubs, sharing a passion for free jazz and free verse, and galvanized by the civil rights movement, these figures formed a circle of friends, co-conspirators, and rivals – and they made distinctive contributions to music, poetry, and painting.
A Memory of the Future
Elizabeth Spires is the author of six collections of poetry, including Wordling, Now the Green Blade Rises, and The Wave-Maker. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Poetry, American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, and The New Criterion. A recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is a professor of English at Goucher College in Baltimore. At the Cullman Center she will be working on a new collection of poems, A Memory of the Future, which considers how the visual, meditative, and spiritual worlds of Japanese Ehon (artists’ picture books) can trigger the poetic process.
Still Life with Girl (working title; a novel)
The Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow
Kate Walbert is the author of Where She Went, The Gardens of Kyoto, Our Kind, and A Short History of Women, which she is currently adapting for the stage. Her short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Prize Stories, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review, among other publications. At the Cullman Center she will work on Still Life with Girl, a novel loosely based on her uncle’s experience of returning from World War II to find a German POW farming his family’s land in rural Maryland.
Untitled graphic novel
Jacob Weinstein is a cartoonist, illustrator, and designer. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeney's, GQ, Tin House, and other publications. He is the illustrator and a co-author of FreeDarko’s two books, The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac and The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. He was the designer and art director of The Philadelphia Independent newspaper. At the Cullman Center he will be working on a graphic novel about the 1952 World Table Tennis Championships in Bombay.
Contact: Amy Geduldig | 212.592.7177
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. It comprises four research centers – housed, respectively, in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry and Business Library – and 88 neighborhood libraries in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items, including materials for the visually impaired. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English as a second language. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and another 25 million users internationally, who access collections and services through the NYPL website, www.nypl.org .