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Leon Levy Center Announces Four New Biography Fellows

Gary Giddins, executive director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography, has announced the recipients of the center’s 2014-2015 residential biography fellowships: Esther Allen, for a biography of José Martí, the Cuban writer and political activist; Peter Filkins, for a biography of H. G. Adler, the German-Jewish novelist; Ruth Franklin, for a biography of Shirley Jackson, the American writer; and James Romm, for a biography of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the Italian Renaissance philosopher.
 
Each biography fellow receives a grant of $60,000, writing space and library privileges, and participates in seminars and the intellectual life of the Graduate Center. Former fellows of the Leon Levy Center for Biography who have published books worked on during their fellowships include Adam Begley (Updike), 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), and Molly Peacock (The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72).
 
Esther AllenEsther Allen is associate professor of modern languages at Baruch College, where her research focuses on translation, nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American and French literature, and issues in anglophone globalization. She has been a fellow of the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellow, and she is cofounder of the PEN/Heim Translation Fund and the PEN World Voices festival. She is coeditor of In Translation: Translators on their Work and What It Means, and she has translated works by Javier Marías, José Manuel Prieto, and many others. As a Leon Levy fellow she will work on a biography of José Martí, whose Selected Writings she edited, translated, and annotated for Penguin Classics.
 
Peter FilkinsPeter Filkins is a poet and translator who teaches writing and literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and translation at Bard’s main campus. He will be researching and writing about H. G. Adler, whose Holocaust novels The JourneyPanorama, and The Wall he has translated, all published by Random House. Filkins is the author of four books of poetry—What She KnewAfter HomerAugustine's Vision, and The View We're Granted—and he has translated the collected poems of Ingeborg Bachmann, Songs in Flight, and her novels The Book of Franza and Requiem for Fanny Goldmann. He has been a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin, and he has received awards from the American Literary Translators Association, the Austrian government, and DAAD, Fulbright, Marbach, and other fellowships. His work has appeared in the New Republic, the American Scholar, the Paris Review, the New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere.
 
Ruth FranklinRuth Franklin, a book critic and contributing editor at the New Republic, is working on a biography of Shirley Jackson, which will be published by W.W. Norton & Company. She has written for many publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, Bookforum, Granta, and Salmagundi, to which she contributes a regular film column. Her first book, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, was a finalist for the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature. She has been a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and she received a Guggenheim fellowship in biography.
 
James RommJames Romm, biographer of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, is the James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Classics at Bard College, specializing in ancient Greek and Roman history. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Wall Street JournalLondon Review of Books, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. He edited the Landmark edition of Arrian's Campaigns of Alexander, and he is the author of The Edges of the Earth in Ancient ThoughtHerodotusGhost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire, and Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero.
 
The Leon Levy Center for Biography was established in 2008 with a generous gift from the Leon Levy Foundation to identify, support, and foster excellence and innovation in biography. It hosts many public programs including an annual conference in the spring and an annual lecture in the fall, in addition to its residential fellowship competition, now in its seventh year, which funds the research and writing of outstanding biographies.

Submitted on: MAY 1, 2014

Category: General GC News, Leon Levy Center for Biography