Professor Heidi Julavits ‘96 Receives 2023 Berlin Prize 

Carlos Barragán
May 24, 2023

Associate Professor Heidi Julavits '96 has been chosen as a recipient of the prestigious Berlin Prize. This award comprises a semester-long fellowship in Berlin, offering recipients the time and resources to explore their artistic projects.

The American Academy in Berlin has awarded a record number of 26 Berlin Prizes for the 2023/24 period. This annual award recognizes US-based scholars and artists with the highest standards of excellence in their respective fields, from the humanities and social sciences to journalism, public policy, fiction, visual arts, and music composition. The Berlin Prize reaffirms and supports the deep cultural, historical, and academic bonds between the United States and Germany.

Julavits is set to work on her nonfiction project Altitude Sickness, where she examines the various ways in which humans interact with nature, from land artists to tourists, educators, cultural critics, and adventurers. Her forthcoming book will weave together an array of ideas and narratives, encompassing newly discovered neurological findings about life flashing before one's eyes before death, the joint suicide of an elderly couple on a remote Maine peninsula, and an amalgamation of American avalanche incidents.

Joining Julavits as Berlin Prize recipients are four other distinguished Columbia community members: Camila Agosto, a DMA student in Composition; Michael W. Doyle, University Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs; Mabel O. Wilson, Nancy and George Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation,professor in African American and African Diaspora Studies and Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies; and James Shapiro, Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature.

Heidi Julavits's recent work includes the New York Times Notable book, The Folded Clock: A Diary (Doubleday, 2015). Alongside Sheila Heti and Leanne Shapton, she edited the bestselling Women in Clothes (Blue Rider 2014). Julavits has authored four novels, including The Vanishers (Doubleday, 2012), another New York Times Notable book and the winner of the PEN New England Fiction Award. Her debut novel, The Mineral Palace, was a finalist for the Young Lions Literary Award. Her short fiction and essays have graced the pages of Harper’s, McSweeney’s, New York Magazine, The New York Times, and other publications. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is a founding editor of The Believer magazine.