The Leon Levy Center for Biography is pleased to announce its 2015-2016 Biography Fellows: Colin Asher, for a biography of Nelson Algren, the Chicago-bred novelist and essayist; Blake Gopnik, for a biography of Andy Warhol, the Pop visual artist and filmmaker; Gordana-Dana Grozdanić, for a biography of Zija Dizdarević, the neglected Bosnian Muslim story writer; and Eric K. Washington, for a biography of James H. Williams, the Harlem-based chief of Grand Central Terminal's “Red Caps.”
Colin Asher is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Believer, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. He teaches reading and writing as an Instructor at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY, and was a 2014 fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts in nonfiction literature. Asher’s essay “But Never a Lovely So Real,” a profile of Nelson Algren, winner of the first National Book Award and the author of eleven books, was recently included in Read Harder, an anthology of the best Believer essays of the past five years. As a Leon Levy fellow he will work on a biography of Algren, which will be published by W.W. Norton & Co. (Photo: Andrew A. Nelles)
Blake Gopnik is a regular contributor to the New York Times and a frequent guest on Marketplace radio. His Daily Pic column goes out to his many Tumblr and Twitter followers and ArtnetNews.com, where he is Critic at Large. Gopnik earned a PhD in art history from Oxford, and in Canada he was the editor of Insite, the architecture and design magazine, and art critic at The Globe and Mail. For ten years he was chief art critic of The Washington Post, before becoming art and design critic for Newsweek and its Daily Beast website. As a Leon Levy fellow he will work on Andy Warhol: A Life as Art, the first comprehensive biography of the Pop artist, which will be published by HarperCollins/Ecco.
Gordana-Dana Grozdanić is a lecturer at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, where she teaches German and Eastern European literatures and German language. In her first book, ´Vor unserer Haustür.´ Auseinandersetzungen deutschsprachiger Autoren mit dem Jugoslawienkrieg, 1991-1996 [´At Our Doorsteps.´ The Yugoslav War in the German-speaking Literature], she explored how German speaking authors grappled with the secession wars in the former Yugoslavia. Her interests include recent Central and South European literature, literary encounters between the German-speaking and South Slavic cultures, and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian exile and war literature. As a Leon Levy fellow she will work on a biography of Zija Dizdarević, the Bosnian interwar writer, whose short stories she is translating into English.
Eric K. Washington is an independent historian and the author of Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem, which prompted an exhibition at City College, CUNY, where he has taught in the Adult and Continuing Education program. Washington received the Municipal Art Society’s 2010 MASterworks Award for his interpretive signage in West Harlem Piers Park, and he is a fellow in Columbia University’s Community Scholars Program. His articles, talks and tours on Upper Manhattan have appeared in numerous print, online, podium and curbside forums, and he is featured prominently in Phillip Lopate’s Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan, and Jonathan R. Wynn’s The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York. As a Leon Levy fellow he will work on a biography of James H. Williams, the former chief porter or "Red Cap" of Grand Central Terminal.