School of the Arts Faculty and Alumni Win 2012 Guggenheim Fellowships

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Timothy Donnelly

Six members of the Columbia University School of the Arts community were among the winners of the Guggenheim Fellowship for 2012.

Associate Professor of Writing, Timothy Donnelly, who is also a 1998 graduate of the School of the Arts and won the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award earlier this year, received a Fellowship in Poetry. Adjunct Writing faculty members Eileen Myles and Benjamin Taylor were awarded Fellowships in General Nonfiction, and John Wray, in Fiction. School of the Arts Film Program alumna Cherien Dabis (’04 SOA) was selected for her work in Video, and Visual Arts alumna Chitra Ganesh (’02 SOA) won for her work in Fine Arts.

“What a magnificent and deserved honor for all of these talented faculty and alumni,” said Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty. “The School of the Arts is extremely proud of each of them.”

This year, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Fellowships to a diverse group of 181 artists, scholars and scientists, selected from a group of nearly 3,000 applicants. Fellows are appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

“These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best,” said Guggenheim Foundation President, Edward Hirsch. “It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”

Since its establishment in 1925, the Foundation has granted over $298 million in Fellowships to more than 17,300 individuals. Previous Columbia University School of the Arts Guggenheim Fellows include Gregory Amenoff, Eve and Herman Gelman Professor of the Visual Arts and Chair of the Visual Arts Program; Writing faculty Stacey D’Erasmo, Victor LaValle and Sam Lipsyte; Film faculty Ramin Bahrani and Tom Kalin; and Writing Program alumna Karen Russell (’06 SOA).


Columbia School of the Arts Faculty Winners

Timothy Donnelly is the author of Twenty-seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit (Grove, 2003) and The Cloud Corporation (Wave, 2010; Picador, 2011), for which he won the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His poems have been widely anthologized and translated and have appeared in such periodicals as A Public SpaceFenceHarper’sThe Iowa ReviewjubilatLana TurnerThe Nation, The New RepublicThe Paris Review and elsewhere. This spring, he is the Theodore H. Holmes ’51 and Bernice Holmes Visiting Associate Professor at Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing and Lewis Center for the Arts. He has been poetry editor of Boston Review since 1996. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters.

Eileen Myles was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, attended Catholic schools in Arlington and graduated from the University of Massachusetts (Boston) in 1971. Since moving to New York in 1974 with the intention of becoming a poet, she has authored more than a dozen volumes of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, including Sorry, Tree, Chelsea Girls, Not Me, Skies, The New Fuck You/adventures in lesbian reading, Cool for You, The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art, Inferno (A Poet’s Novel) and most recently Snowflake / different streets. A Professor Emeritus at UC San Diego, she lives in New York.

Benjamin Taylor is the author of a book of essays, Into the Open, and two novels, Tales Out of School, winner of the Harold Ribalow Prize, and The Book of Getting Even, a 2009 Barnes and Noble Discover Award Finalist, a 2008 Los Angeles Times Favorite Book of the Year and a Ferro-Grumley Prize Finalist. In November 2010, Viking Press released Saul Bellow: Letters, edited by Taylor. Naples Declared: A Walk Around the Bay, a travel memoir will be released in May 2012. Taylor earned a doctorate in English and comparative literature from Columbia University. He has contributed to magazines including Bookforum, Bomb, The Los Angeles Times Book Review and others. Taylor has also taught in the graduate writing program at The New School.

John Wray was born in Washington, DC. His three published novels, The Right Hand of SleepCanaan’s Tongue and Lowboy, have earned him numerous distinctions, including a Whiting Award, a KEN Fiction Award and the 2010 Mary Ellen Van der Heyden Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. He was named one of Granta magazine’s Best Young American Novelists in 2007, and was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. A regular contributor to Esquire, Spin and The New York Times Magazine, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Columbia University School of the Arts Alumni Winners

After Cherien Dabis’s short film, Make a Wish, premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, she worked for three seasons as a writer and co-producer on Showtime’s The L Word. She made her feature writing and directorial debut with Amreeka (2009), which premiered at Sundance, opened New York’s New Director’s/New Films at the MoMA and won the prestigious FIPRESCI award at Cannes. The film was nominated for several awards, and Dabis was named one of Variety’s “Ten Directors to Watch.” She has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, National Geographic, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Sundance Institute and others. This summer, Dabis will begin work on her next film, May in the Summer. Dabis splits her time between New York and Amman, Jordan.

Chitra Ganesh was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, where she currently lives and works. She graduated from Brown University with a BA in Comparative Literature and Art Semiotics in1996, and received her MFA from Columbia in 2002. Ganesh’s work has been exhibited widely at venues in New York and abroad, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Queens Museum of Art, the Asia Society, Bronx Museum of Art, Nature Morte in New Delhi, Montehermoso Center in Spain and the Royal College of Art in London. Her works have been featured in several publications including the New York Times, Flash Art and Time Out New York. Ganesh has been awarded grants from the College Art Association and New York Foundation for the Arts, among others.

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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.