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NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman congratulates recipients of 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship Awards

Fellows include 15 NEA literature fellows

Washington, DC -- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman congratulates the recipients of the 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship Awards, in particular 15 of the awardees who received either a creative writing or translation fellowship from the NEA in prior years before their work garnered attention and accolades. The NEA Creative Writing Fellowships are $25,000 grants that enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. The program employs an anonymous review process so that panelists adjudicate the applications exclusively on the quality of the submitted manuscripts. In addition, two of the Guggenheim Fellows have received NEA Translation Fellowships for their work.

"The 2011 Guggenheim Fellows are an impressive mix of artists, scholars, and thinkers. We are particularly pleased that 15 of them previously received NEA Literature Fellowships," states Jon Parrish Peede, Director of Literature. "When the NEA first invested in direct support for writers and translators 45 years ago, the agency believed that our seed funding would usher essential new voices into the American literature canon. Clearly, that belief was justified -- and continues to be fulfilled."

The National Endowment for the Arts has supported writers, writing programs, translation, and literature organizations since its inception in 1965. In 2010, the NEA awarded 124 grants totaling $2.7 million through its regular grants program, Access to Artistic Excellence, 42 creative writing fellowships totaling more than $1 million, and 16 translation awards totaling $275,000 for a total investment in 2010 of 182 grants and fellowships and almost $4 million.

The 15 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship recipients or translation awardees who are 2011 Guggenheim Fellows are:

NEA Creative Writing Fellowship Recipients and Year of Award 
Robert Antoni (1988)
John-Philip D'Agata (2008)
Jonathan R. Dee (2006)
Claudia Emerson (1994)
Christie Anne Hodge (2002)
Kimberly Johnson (2005)
Eleanor Lerman (2007)
Rosemary Mahoney (2006)
Valerie Martin (1990)
D. A. Powell (2003)
David James Van (2004)
Brad Watson (2004)
Cynthia Rebecca Zarin (1997)

NEA Translation Project Awardees and Year of Award Bill Porter (1986, 2005)
A. E. Stallings (2009)

Those interested in literature will enjoy a series of author audio interviews available as downloadable podcasts from the NEA's Art Works blog. Recently featured authors include:

  • Novelist Jennifer Egan talks about her National Book Critics Circle Award-Winning book, A Visit from the Goon Squad.
  • Biographer Valerie Boyd talks about the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston.
  • Isabel Wilkerson talks about her book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, focusing on the transfer of Southern culture to the North, creating a new, vibrant culture in the country.
  • Author of two memoirs about her life in Iran, Reading Lolita in Tehran andThings I've Been Silent AboutAzar Nafisi talks about her books, her life in Iran, her parents, the Iranian Revolution, and, of course, the power of literature.
  • Author Luis Alberto Urrea talks about the inspiration for and writing of his novel Into the Beautiful North, which takes place from Sinaloa, Mexico, all the way up north to Kankakee, Illinois.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.