The Leon Levy Center for Biography is pleased to announce its 2013-2014 Biography Fellows: Alexandra Chasin, for a biography of Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics; Andrew Meier, for a biography of the Morgenthau family; Pamela Newkirk, for a biography of Ota Benga, the Congolese man exhibited at the Bronx Zoo; and Justin Spring, for a biography of Roberto Matta, the Chilean surrealist painter.
Alexandra Chasin is Assistant Professor of Writing at Eugene Lang College, The New School, having earned a PhD in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford and an MFA at Vermont College. She is the author of a nonfiction work, Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market, as well as two books of fiction: a collection of short innovative fictions entitled Kissed By, and Brief, an 'app' novella for the iPad. Chasin is a past recipient of a Whiting Dissertation Fellowship, a Bunting Institute Fellowship, and a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. As a Leon Levy fellow she will work on a biography of Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
Andrew Meier is Assistant Professor of Writing at Eugene Lang College, The New School. He is the author of Black Earth: A Journey Through Russia After the Fall, and The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin's Secret Service, both published by Norton and named books of the year by The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and NPR. He has reported on Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus for two decades, including as Moscow correspondent for Time, and is a contributor to The New York Times Magazine. Meier has received fellowships from the NEH, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation, and he was the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellow at the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library. As a Leon Levy fellow he will work on The House of Morgenthau: An American Family.
Pamela Newkirk is Professor of Journalism at New York University and the author of Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media, which received the National Press Club Award for Media Criticism. She is the editor of A Love No Less: More Than Two Centuries of African American Love Letters, and Letters from Black America. Newkirk has worked as a daily journalist at four different news organizations, including New York Newsday, where in 1990 she was among the reporting team awarded a Pulitzer Prize for spot news. Her primary areas of interest are race in the news media and African American art and culture. As a Leon Levy fellow she will work on a biography of Ota Benga, the Congolese man exhibited at the Bronx Zoo.
Justin Spring, a writer on 20th century American art and culture, is the author of two interdisciplinary biographies, Fairfield Porter: A Life in Art, and Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist and Sexual Renegade. Both biographies examine the lives of artists whose work combined the practice of visual art with literature, poetry, criticism, and social and political activism. Secret Historian was a National Book Award Finalist and the recipient of many other prizes. In addition to his work as a biographer, Spring is an award-winning curator who has published many monographs and museum catalogues, most recently Andy Warhol: Fame and Misfortune. As a Leon Levy fellow he will work on a biography of the Chilean surrealist painter Roberto Matta.