The New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Announces 2017-2018 Fellows

April 20, 2017 - The New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers has selected its 19th class of Fellows: 15 exceptional independent scholars, academics, and creative writers, whose work will benefit directly from access to the collections at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Chosen out of 357 applicants from 38 countries, the 2017 class of Cullman Center Fellows includes:

  • Academics Sarah Bridger, Martin Puchner, Magda Teter, and Barbara Weinstein​

  • Fiction writers Georgi Gospodinov, Nellie Hermann, Lorrie Moore, and Melinda Moustakis​

  • Poet Lynn Melnick​

  • Independent scholars Joan Acocella, Ava Chin, Hugh Eakin, Blake Gopnik, Eyal Press​

  • Visual artist Frances Jetter

"Researching truth and engaging with primary sources, especially in an environment that celebrates the sharing of knowledge and access to information, is more important today than perhaps ever before," said NYPL President Tony Marx. "I'm inspired by the wide range of subjects this class of scholars will be exploring, and that all their interests are well represented within the collections here at the Library."

The 2017 class of Fellows will be in residence at the Cullman Center from September 2017 through May 2018. Each Fellow receives a stipend, a private office in the Cullman Center’s handsome quarters at The New York Public Library’s landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, and full access to the renowned research collections and online resources there, as well as the invaluable assistance of the Library’s curatorial and reference staff.

"We are thrilled to be bringing all these exciting people and projects to the Library next year," said Jean Strouse, the Sue Ann and John Weinberg Director of the Cullman Center. "The Fellows will be astonished at the depth of material they’ll find in our research collections, as well as at how much they’ll learn from each other -- and how much fun they’ll have."

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 lunch-time talks and public Conversations from the Cullman Center, a series of free evening programs that focus on the books Fellows worked on while in residence at the Library.

Cullman Center Fellows often receive distinguished honors and awards for these books.  Prize-winning and prominent past Fellows include: Andre Aciman, Elif Batuman, David Blight, Ian Buruma, Jennifer Egan, Nathan Englander, Alvaro Enrigue, Hal Foster, Ian Frazier, Rivka Galchen, Annette Gordon-Reed, Anthony Grafton, Stephen Kotkin, Nicole Krauss, Hari Kunzru, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Hermione Lee, Larissa MacFarquhar, Megan Marshall, Ayana Mathis, Colum McCann, Richard McGuire, Pankaj Mishra, C.E. Morgan, Joseph O'Neill, Téa Obreht, Darryl Pinckney, Lauren Redniss, Karen Russell, Stacy Schiff, James Shapiro, Dash Shaw, Mark Stevens, T.J. Stiles, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Colm Tóibín, Wells Tower, Rosanna Warren, 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

About the 2017-2018 Fellows at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers

Joan Acocella

Biography of Mikhail Baryshnikov

Joan Acocella is a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she reviews dance and books. Her own books include Mark Morris; Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism; and, most recently, the essay collection Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints, which won the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Acocella edited the first unexpurgated edition of The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky. At the Cullman Center she will be working on a biography of Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Sarah Bridger

Science in the Seventies: Battling for the Soul of a Profession, from the Vietnam War to Star Wars

Sarah Bridger, an associate professor of history at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA, is the author of Scientists at War: The Ethics of Cold War Weapons Research. The winner of several fellowships and awards, including the Allan Nevins Dissertation Prize from the Society of American Historians, Bridger will work at the Cullman Center on a book about the political, economic, and ideological battles over American science in the 1970s.

Ava Chin

37 Mott Street

Ava Chin is an associate professor of creative nonfiction at the College of Staten Island-CUNY. Her debut memoir Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal won 1st Prize in the M. F. K. Fisher Book Awards. The former New York Times "Urban Forager," her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Saveur and the Village Voice. She has been the recipient of Fulbright, Van Lier, and Advanced Research Collaborative fellowships. During her year at the Cullman Center, she will be working on a book about the impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act laws on four different generations of her family.

Hugh Eakin

From Art Market to Museum: How the Avant-Garde Came to America

A senior editor at The New York Review of Booksand founding editor of its online magazine, NYR Daily, Hugh Eakin has reported from Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and other countries in the Middle East, with a special interest in cultural patrimony. In addition to The New York Review, his work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. During his time at the Cullman Center, Eakin will work on a book about the origins of the American market for modern art.

Blake Gopnik

Andy Warhol: A Life as Art

Blake Gopnik is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and has been staff art critic at The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, andNewsweek, as well as critic-at-large for He holds a PhD in art history from the University of Oxford. At the Cullman Center, he will work on a biography of the legendary pop artist Andy Warhol.

Georgi Gospodinov

Untitled novel

The Physics of Sorrow, the most recent novel by the Bulgarian poet, writer, and playwright Georgi Gospodinov, won the 2016 international Jan Michalski Prize for Literature and was a finalist for the Strega Europeo and the Gregor von Rezzori awards. An animated short film based on Gospodinov’s short storyBlind Vaysha was nominated for a 2017 Academy Award. During his time at the Cullman Center, Gospodinov will work on a novel about the childhood fears of different generations.

Nellie Hermann

All the Missing

Nellie Hermann has published two novels, The Cure for Grief and The Season of Migration. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Glimmer Train, Blunderbuss, The Paris Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Academic Medicine-- and Freud's Blind Spot, an anthology of writing about siblings. The Creative Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, Hermann received a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2016. The novel she will be working on at the Cullman Center is tentatively titled All the Missing.

Frances Jetter


Frances Jetter, an illustrator and printmaker, publishes her work in The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME Magazine, and The Nation. Her prints and artist’s books are included in the collections of The New York Public Library, the Fogg Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Library of Congress. Jetter teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York. At the Cullman Center she will be working on an illustrated history about the life of her immigrant grandfather, his labor union, and his American family in Brooklyn.

Lynn Melnick


Lynn Melnick’s first poetry collection, If I Should Say I Have Hope, appeared in 2012, and her second, Landscape with Sex and Violence, is due out in the fall of 2017. Melnick has published poems in The American Poetry Review, The Boston Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and A Public Space. She serves on the Executive Board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. At the Cullman Center she will work on a book of poems about the refusenik population of Los Angeles in the 1980s as it relates to Jewish identity, the American dream, and our current political moment.

Melinda Moustakis

Untitled story collection

The first collection of short stories by Melinda Moustakis, Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories, won the Flannery O'Connor Award and was a "5 Under 35" selection of the National Book Foundation. Moustakis has published her work in American Short Fiction, Alaska Quarterly Review, Granta, and elsewhere. She has received an O. Henry Prize and fellowships from the NEA and the Kenyon Review, and has been a Hodder Fellow at Princeton and a Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Residence at George Washington University. Her new story collection, which she will work on at the Cullman Center, will be set in Alaska.

Lorrie Moore

Untitled novel

Lorrie Moore is the author of three novels and four collections of stories. The honors she has received for her work include the Irish TimesInternational Prize for Literature, a Lannan Foundation fellowship, the PEN/Malamud Award, and the Rea Award for the Short Story. Her most recent novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Moore is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She will be working at the Cullman Center on a new novel.

Eyal Press

Dirty Work

Eyal Press is the author of two books of nonfiction, Beautiful Souls and Absolute Convictions. A contributing writer for The New Yorker, Press has written for The New York Review of Books, The Nation, and other publications. He received a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. His next book, which he will work on at the Cullman Center, will examine the moral landscape of contemporary America through the stories of people who perform society’s most ethically troubling functions: its dirty work.

Martin Puchner

The Rotwelsch Inheritance: Biography of a Secret Language

Martin Puchner is the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, where he founded a program in theater, dance, and media. His most recent book, The Written World(forthcoming November 2017), tells the story of literature from the invention of writing to the Internet. Puchner will be working at the Cullman Center on a book about Rotwelsch, a secret language based on Yiddish, Hebrew, and German that has haunted his family for three generations.

Magda Teter

Blood and Paper: Anti-Jewish Libels, Cultural Knowledge, and European Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe

Magda Teter, who grew up in Cold-War Poland, is Professor of History and the Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies at Fordham University. Her published work includes the books Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland and Sinners on Trial, as well as numerous articles in English, Polish, Italian, and Hebrew. Teter has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundations. At the Cullman Center she will be finishing Blood and Paper, a book on anti-Jewish libels, cultural knowledge, and diplomacy in pre-modern Europe.

Barbara Weinstein

The Art of Re-Invention: An Intellectual Biography of Frank Tannenbaum

Barbara Weinstein, Silver Professor of History at New York University and a past president of the American Historical Association, is an historian of modern Latin America. Her most recent book was The Color of Modernity: São Paulo and the Making of Race and Nation in Brazil. Weinstein’s research has been supported by the NEH, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the Guggenheim Foundation. While at the Cullman Center she will be working on a book about Frank Tannenbaum, who was by turns an anarchist, a student of the Mexican Revolution, a criminologist, and a historian of race relations in the Americas.

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, John and Constance Birkelund, The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, and additional gifts from The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Helen and Roger Alcaly, The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, The Rona Jaffe Foundation, William W. Karatz, Mary Ellen von der Heyden,  Merilee and Roy Bostock,  The Arts and Letters Foundation, Lybess Sweezy and Ken Miller, and Cullman Center Fellows.

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