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Biography Fellowships

The Leon Levy Center for Biography offers four resident fellowships at the Graduate Center for the academic year beginning each September. Awards include writing space, full access to research facilities, and a stipend of $60,000. Applications for the 2016-2017 fellowships will be available in September 2015.

"The Leon Levy Fellowship changed my life entirely… The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life's Work at 72 was the illustrated biography I wrote because the fellowship gave me the confidence to risk writing a 'collage biography' of an 18th-century collage artist."

—Molly Peacock, 2008–2009 fellow, author of The Paper Garden (McClelland & Stewart, 2010).

Fellows devote their time to their projects and participate in monthly seminars and the public events of the Leon Levy Center for Biography, including the annual lecture and the annual conference, and they are encouraged to join in the dynamic intellectual community of the Graduate Center.

Former fellows who have published books worked on during their fellowships include Adam Begley (Updike), James Davis (Eric Walrond: A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean), Langdon Hammer (James Merrill: Life and Art), Elizabeth Kendall (Balanchine and the Lost Muse), Wendy Lesser (Music for Silenced Voices: Shostakovich and His Fifteen Quartets), John Matteson (The Lives of Margaret Fuller), D.T. Max (Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace), Pamela Newkirk (Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga), Molly Peacock (The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life's Work at 72), and Siobhan Roberts (Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway).

The Leon Levy Center for Biography aims to cultivate a lively interdisciplinary discussion about the art and craft of biography historically and in our time, both in and out of the academy. Applications are particularly welcome from CUNY faculty, but fellows may not teach or partake in other full-time employment during their academic year-in-residence. Emergent or first-time biographers, and writers moving to biography from other genres are especially encouraged to apply.

2016-2017 Biography Fellowship applications will be available in September 2015 at the links above for online submission, or as PDF files to download and mail, both with a deadline of December 15, 2015. Applications require a resume or CV (3 pages max), a narrative account of the applicant's career (250 words), a project description (750 words), a sample of the proposed biography (maximum 2,500 words), and four letters of reference, which must be postmarked by the December 15, 2015 deadline. Fellowship decisions will be announced, and all applicants notified, in mid-April 2016.


Dissertation Fellowships

"The LLCB fellowship was simply one of the best experiences as a graduate student. It is so rare for such a diverse group from academia and the literary world to get together and discuss our work."

—Thomas Hafer, 2011–2012 dissertation fellow, History

The Leon Levy Center for Biography offers Dissertation Fellowships for two PhD candidates at the Graduate Center. Applications are welcome from students in any discipline, but an applicant's dissertation project must be devoted to biography in order to be considered. Dissertation Fellows are provided with writing space, and participate in the monthly biography fellow seminars. They will also be expected to attend the Leon Levy Center for Biography's annual lecture and the annual conference.

Application forms will be available from the Provost's office. The application requires a statement of purpose to the Leon Levy Center for Biography, a dissertation proposal, a bibliography, two letters of reference and a CV. Applications are received by the Provost's Office and are reviewed by the Leon Levy Center for Biography.