The New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers has selected its 25th class of Fellows: 15 gifted academics, literary, translation, and visual artists. The Cullman Center is an international fellowship program open to people whose work will benefit directly from access to the collections at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building—including academics, independent scholars, novelists, playwrights, and poets.
Selected from a pool of 408 applicants from 51 countries, the members of the class of 2023 are:
- Academics Seth Anziska, Deborah Lutz, Stephanie McCurry, Sara McDougall, and Suleiman Osman
- Fiction writers Caoilinn Hughes, Amitava Kumar, and Catherine Lacey
- Nonfiction writers Jessica Bruder, Molly Crabapple, Lance Richardson, and Brenda Wineapple
- Poet Nicole Sealey
- Translator Yasmine Seale
- Visual Artist Accra Shepp
“Our Fellows are selected on the basis of excellence and a strong need for the Library’s resources,” said Martha Hodes, interim director of the Cullman Center. “This year’s judges have put together a diversely brilliant and creative cohort who will draw both widely and deeply on the Library’s many and varied holdings and collections.”
Throughout the Fellowship term, which runs from September 2023 through May 2024, the 2023 class of Cullman Center Fellows will have access to the renowned research collections and resources of The New York Public Library, as well as the invaluable assistance of its curatorial and reference staff. The Fellows receive a stipend and the use of a private office in the Cullman Center’s quarters at The New York Public Library’s landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
The Center fosters an atmosphere of creative and scholarly collaboration both within the Library and in the larger cultural environment of New York, which includes hosting public Conversations from the Cullman Center, a series of free programs that focus on the books Fellows worked on while in residence at the Library.
Cullman Center Fellows regularly receive distinguished honors and awards for these books. Prize-winning and prominent past Fellows include: André Aciman, Annie Baker, Elif Batuman, David Bell, David Blight, Jennifer Croft, Hernan Diaz, Jennifer Egan, Álvaro Enrigue, Ada Ferrer, Nicole Fleetwood, Ruth Franklin, Rivka Galchen, Annette Gordon-Reed, Anthony Grafton, Steven Hahn, Saidiya Hartman, Hua Hsu, Mitchell S. Jackson, Patrick Radden Keefe, Nicole Krauss, Hari Kunzru, Hermione Lee, Larissa MacFarquhar, Megan Marshall, Ayana Mathis, Richard McGuire, Lynn Melnick, Pankaj Mishra, Téa Obreht, Gregory Pardlo, Caryl Phillips, Darryl Pinckney, Lauren Redniss, Sally Rooney, Karen Russell, Stacy Schiff, Danzy Senna, James Shapiro, Dash Shaw, Mark Stevens, T. J. Stiles, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Brandon Taylor, Colm Tóibín, Edmund White, Colson Whitehead, and Alejandro Zambra.
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.
Meet the 2023-2024 Fellows at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers
Israel’s Forgotten Invasion: An International History of the 1982 Lebanon War
Seth Anziska is the Mohamed S. Farsi-Lindenbaum Associate Professor of Jewish-Muslim Relations at University College London, where he is the founding director of the Middle East Research Centre. He is the author of Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo, which was awarded the British and Irish Association for Jewish Studies Book Prize. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, +972 Magazine, and the 55th Venice Biennale. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the Norwegian Nobel Institute and a visiting professor at Dartmouth College. His research has been supported by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust. At the Cullman Center, he will be working on an international history of Israel’s 1982 Lebanon War.
Jessica Bruder is the author of three nonfiction books, including the New York Times bestseller Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, which has been published in more than two dozen languages and adapted into a triple Oscar-winning film. A New York Times Notable Book and an Editors’ Choice selection, Nomadland also won the Discover Award and was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Prize and the Helen Bernstein Book Award. Bruder’s stories have been featured on the covers of WIRED, Harper’s, and Audubon, and in the pages of the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, New York, and other publications. She teaches at the Columbia School of Journalism. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on a book about mutual aid and abortion access.
Here Where We Stand is Our Country: The Story of the Jewish Labor Bund
Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer. She is the author of two books, Drawing Blood and (with Marwan Hisham) Brothers of the Gun, which was long-listed for the National Book Award. She has won the Bernhart Labor Journalism Award, and her work has been published in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Paris Review, Vanity Fair, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, and elsewhere. Her art is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, and her animations have been nominated for three Emmys and won an Edward R. Murrow Award. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on a history of the Jewish Labor Bund.
Flatland with Monuments
Caoilinn Hughes is the author of The Wild Laughter, which won the Royal Society of Literature's Encore Award, was long-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize, and was a finalist for three other awards. Her first novel, Orchid & the Wasp, won the Collyer Bristow Prize, was long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award, and was a finalist for three more awards. Her short fiction has won the Irish Book Awards Story of the Year, the Moth Short Story Prize, and an O. Henry Prize. She has been a Writer Fellow at Trinity College Dublin and Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Her third novel, The Alternatives, is forthcoming from Riverhead (US) and Oneworld (UK) in Spring 2024. At the Cullman Center, she will work on a story collection and a new novel about slow work.
My Beloved Life: A Novel
The Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow
Amitava Kumar is the author of several works of nonfiction and three novels. His novel Immigrant, Montana was a New York Times and New Yorker best book of the year and was selected by President Barack Obama as a favorite book of the year. Kumar's work has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, the Nation, Granta, BRICK, and Guernica, among other publications. He has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship and residencies from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Lannan Foundation. At the Cullman Center, he will be working on a new novel, as well as a nonfiction essay on the changing politics in India.
Catherine Lacey is the author of five works of fiction, most recently Biography of X. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages, and her accolades include a Guggenheim fellowship, a Whiting Award, and The New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award. At the Cullman Center, she will be researching unpopular psychoanalytic theories from the mid-twentieth century and the Art Deco movement, for a new novel.
Emily Brontë: A Life
Deborah Lutz teaches Victorian literature and culture at the University of Louisville where she holds the Thruston B. Morton Endowed Chair. She is the author of five books, most recently Victorian Paper Art and Craft: Writers and Their Materials. Her previous book, The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects, was shortlisted for the PEN/Weld Award for Biography. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship, and a Mellon Foundation fellowship at the Huntington Library, among other awards. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on a biography of Emily Brontë.
A Revolution in Every Household: A New History of Reconstruction
Stephanie McCurry teaches at Columbia University where she is the R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History. She is the author of three books, including Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South, which won multiple book prizes and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Nation, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Irish Times. At the Cullman Center she will be working on a book about the post-Civil War United States that identifies the intimate as a domain of power that reframes the challenge of the era.
Listening to Jehanne: A Survivor's Story from Late Medieval France
The John and Constance Birkelund Fellow
Sara McDougall is Professor of History at John Jay College of the City University of New York and on the faculty of Biography and Memoir, French, History, and Medieval Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. The author of two books and several articles, she writes about gender and justice in the Middle Ages, with a focus on women's encounters with legal and religious ideas in the society and culture of medieval France. At the Cullman Center, she will work on her third book, a biographical microhistory of a woman from Lorraine, France, that defies modern assumptions about sex, gender, justice, and identity in the Middle Ages.
Gentrification: A History of an Anxiety
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow
Suleiman Osman is Associate Professor of American Studies at George Washington University. His first book, The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn, was awarded the Hornblower Prize from the New York Society Library. He has received grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Graham Foundation. His articles and criticism have appeared in the Journal of Urban History, the Journal of Planning History, Society and Space, and City & Community. At the Cullman Center, he will work on a history of gentrification in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present.
True Nature: The Pilgrimage of Peter Matthiessen
The Janice B. and Milford D. Gerton / Arts and Letters Foundation Fellow
Lance Richardson, a native of Australia, is the author of House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row. He has received the Hazel Rowley Literary fellowship, a fellowship from the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the City University of New York, a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar fellowship, and residency fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Harry Ransom Center. At the Cullman Center, he will be working on a biography of Peter Matthiessen, the novelist, naturalist, and co-founder of the Paris Review.
One Thousand and One Nights: A New Translation
Yasmine Seale's work includes poetry, translation, criticism, and visual art. Her writings have appeared in Harper’s, the Nation, the Paris Review, and elsewhere. Among her books are Agitated Air: Poems after Ibn Arabi, a collaboration with Robin Moger, and Something Evergreen Called Life, a translation of poems by Rania Mamoun. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America, the Wolfson Foundation, Koç University in Istanbul, and the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris. At the Cullman Center, she will work on producing a new translation of One Thousand and One Nights.
The Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow
Nicole Sealey is the author of Ordinary Beast, a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the PEN Open Book Award, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Other honors include the Rome Prize in Literature, the Hodder fellowship from Princeton University, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from the American Poetry Review, and fellowships from CantoMundo, Cave Canem, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry London, and Best American Poetry, among other venues. She is a visiting professor at Boston University and teaches in the MFA Writers Workshop at New York University-Paris. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on a collection of poems that explores the relationship between race and citizenry via the genre of music.
The Islands of New York
The Jean Strouse Fellow
Accra Shepp is an artist and writer who teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His images have been exhibited worldwide and are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum, among other institutions. He is the author of Radical Justice: Lifting Every Voice, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times and the New York Review of Books. He is the recipient of a senior Fulbright fellowship and has been awarded residencies at MacDowell, Civitella, and Light Work. At the Cullman Center, he will be working on a photographic investigation of the more than forty islands that make up New York City.
Fiorello La Guardia
Brenda Wineapple is the author of six books, most recently The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation, named one of the ten best books of the year by New York Times critic Jennifer Szalai. An earlier book, White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and her forthcoming book concerns the 1925 Scopes "monkey" trial. Wineapple is the recipient of the Literature Prize from the Academy of Arts and Letters, the Pushcart Prize, an Ambassador Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar fellowship, and a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. At the Cullman Center, she will be working on a biography of Fiorello La Guardia.
The Cullman Center is made possible by a generous endowment from Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman in honor of Brooke Russell Astor, with major support provided by Mrs. John L. Weinberg, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Estate of Charles J. Liebman, The von der Heyden Family Foundation, John and Constance Birkelund, and The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, and with additional gifts from Helen and Roger Alcaly, The Rona Jaffe Foundation, The Arts and Letters Foundation Inc., William W. Karatz, Merilee and Roy Bostock, and Cullman Center Fellows.