Professor Phillip Lopate Is Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters

Jessie Shohfi
March 08, 2023

Professor Phillip Lopate (CC ’64) has been voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a remarkable honor and well-deserved recognition of his lifetime of contributions to American literature. 

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Members are elected for life, and follow in the footsteps of such giants as Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Edith Wharton, and Henry James. 

Lopate is among nineteen new members and four honorary members who will be inducted into the Academy this year, including fellow authors Yiyun Li and Percival Everett, poet Cecilia Vicuña, and actor Frances McDormand, all of whom will be formally inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters during its annual Ceremonial on May 24, 2023. 

This recognition comes shortly after Lopate was named the recipient of the Academy’s 2022 Christopher Lightfoot Walker Award, receiving $100,000 in recognition of his significant contribution to American literature. 

Phillip Lopate is a central figure in the revival of the American essay, both through his ubiquitous edited anthology, Art of the Personal Essay, and his own essay collections, Bachelorhood, Against Joie de Vivre, Portrait of My Body and Portrait Inside My Head. He is also the author of such book-length nonfiction works as Being with Children, Waterfront, Notes on Sontag, Rudy Burckhardt: Photographer, and A Mother’s Tale. Additionally, he has written books of fiction (Confessions of Summer, The Rug Merchant, Two Marriages) and poetry (At the End of the Day). Finally, he has edited other anthologies (Writing New York and American Movie Critics), and most recently published a three-volume historical anthology of the American essay (The Glorious American Essay, 2020). A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a winner of Guggenheim, New York Public Library, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, he is on the faculty of Columbia University’s Graduate Writing Program, School of the Arts.