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"As a first-time biographer, I derived enormous benefit from the Leon Levy Center for Biography fellowship, not only because it provided a workplace and financial support (two very important factors), but because it put me in regular contact with other biographers, some of whom had significantly more experience working in the genre."

—Susan Bernofsky, 2012–2013 fellow, writing a biography of Robert Walser, the Swiss modernist author.


Biography Fellows

Biography Fellows 2017-2018

Justin-GiffordJustin Gifford is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno.  His research and teaching focuses on African American cultural history and American literature.  He is the author of two books, Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Publishing and Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim.  He is currently researching and writing a biography of Eldridge Cleaver.

Eleanor RandolphEleanor Randolph, a former member of The New York Times editorial board, is working on a biography of Michael Bloomberg, billionaire, politician and philanthropist. Ms. Randolph, a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, has worked as a national correspondent for The Washington Post, covering the media, Moscow and New York City. She wrote a book on Russian life, "Waking the Tempests: Ordinary Life in the New Russia” published by Simon & Schuster in 1996.  As a national correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, she covered presidents and presidential campaigns,the  environment and New York City. In recognition of her editorials over 18 years at The Times, she was named one of the 50 most influential people over 50 in New York in 2016 by City & State Magazine. 

Bruce WeberIn a 30-year career at The New York Times, Bruce Weber was an editor at the Sunday magazine, a metro reporter, a theater columnist and critic, the paper’s first national cultural correspondent and, for the final eight years of his tenure, an obituary writer. A former fiction editor at Esquire, he was the editor of Look Who’s Talking (1986), an anthology of 20th-century American short stories. He is the author of Savion! My Life in Tap (with the dancer Savion Glover, 2000);  As They See ‘Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires (2009), which became a New York Times bestseller, and a memoir, Life Is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America (2014). A graduate of the University of Michigan with an M.A. in American literature from Columbia, he lives in Manhattan and Orient, N.Y. He is at work on a biography of E.L. Doctorow. 

Lindsay WhalenLindsay Whalen began her career as a book editor, and is a graduate of Brooklyn College’s MFA in Fiction, where she was the recipient of a Truman Capote Fellowship and the 2015 Lainoff Short Story Prize. As a Leon Levy fellow, she will work on a biography of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver, to be published by the Penguin Press.