An award-winning poet. An art historian. And a cultural scholar who studies the Netherlands.
These are just a few of the New England artists, writers, and thinkers awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation’s annual fellowship this year. Of 184 selected fellows named on Thursday, eight hail from Massachusetts, boasting achievements in the humanities and creative arts categories. Another three reside in Connecticut or New Hampshire.
Since 1925, the fellowship has bestowed millions to enable honorees to “engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color, or creed,” according to the foundation’s website.
Selected candidates receive an unrestricted six- to twelve-month grant that affords them time and creative freedom. Around 3,000 applicants throw their hats in the ring each year.
Poets Andrea Cohen and Sandra Lim are two of this year’s honorees from the Bay State. Cohen, of Watertown, directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge and has penned poetry collections of her own, including “Nightshade,” “Unfathoming,” and “Furs Not Mine.” Lim, a Cambridge resident and an associate professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, is heralded for her collections “Loveliest Grotesque” and “The Wilderness.”
Dartmouth College professor and “The Sobbing School” author Joshua Bennett, of Braintree, was named one of this year’s fellows for American literature. He tweeted Thursday that he was “honored, and overjoyed” to be included in the class.
Author Kaitlyn Greenidge, who is also features director at Harper’s Bazaar, was awarded a Guggenheim in the fiction category. The Westborough resident released her second novel, “Libertie,” late last month and accepted congratulations in a tweet Thursday afternoon.
“Woke up this morning to a group text with some of my smartest former coworkers; got to talk for a minute with a writer I greatly admire and then got to see everyone’s well wishes and congrats,” Greenidge wrote. “Thank you!”
Woke up this morning to a group text with some of my smartest former coworkers; got to talk for a minute with a writer I greatly admire and then got to see everyone's well wishes and congrats. Thank you!— Kaitlyn Greenidge (@surlybassey) April 8, 2021
Once featured at the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Boston Foster Prize Exhibition, Josephine Halvorson grabbed a fine arts fellowship. (She is also a professor at Boston University.) William Giraldi, a Boston University lecturer and novelist, was named one of this year’s general nonfiction fellows. And Paul J. Kosmin, the Philip J. King professor of ancient history at Harvard, was awarded a Guggenheim in the classics.
Scholars from two other New England states also made the cut.
Marisa Anne Bass, who studies early modern art in Northern Europe and teaches at Yale University, is from Guildford, Conn. Her research touches on the cult of images, portraiture, and Renaissance art, according to her Yale web page.
New Hampshire resident Tarek El-Ariss, chair of Middle Eastern studies at Dartmouth College, was named a fellow in literary criticism. He is an author and the editor of “The Arab Renaissance: A Bilingual Anthology of the Nahda.” He tweeted that he was “thrilled and humbled” to be among the honorees.
Last but not least, Alexander Chee of Hanover, New Hampshire, joins Giraldi in the general nonfiction category. A Dartmouth professor, Chee most recently penned “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel.”
He addressed his new honor with a bit of humor.
“Well it was quite a day to update the CV,” he tweeted.
Well it was quite a day to update the CV.— Alexander Chee (@alexanderchee) April 8, 2021
In a statement, Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation, reflected on the unusual pandemic year — and what the grant could mean for the fellows.
“A Guggenheim Fellowship has always been meaningful, but this year we know it will be a lifeline for many of the new Fellows at a time of great hardship, a survival tool as well as a creative one,” he said.