Graduate Center English Alum Awarded 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship

April 9, 2020

Jenny Boully, a writer who currently teaches at Columbia College Chicago, was one of 175 scholars, artists, and writers chosen for the prestigious fellowship.

Jenny Boully (Photo courtesy of Boully)
Jenny Boully (Photo courtesy of Boully)


Jenny Boully (Ph.D. ’11, English), a writer who currently teaches at Columbia College Chicago and the Bennington Writing Seminars, was awarded a prestigious 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship. This year’s 175 recipients were selected from a field of close to 3,000 applicants across the arts and sciences.

Boully says she intends to use the fellowship to help her finish a collection of memoiristic essays centered on her adolescence within a demimonde of misfits. She credits The Graduate Center as a source of guidance, teaching, and support. "The Graduate Center is where I began to think and write critically about the perils of adolescence for girl-children," she says. "My dissertation adviser, Wayne Koestenbaum, was extremely instrumental in allowing me to enter this creative space that converses with the critical."

Boully, whose award is for the category of general nonfiction, is the author of Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life. Her other publications include not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward themThe Book of Beginnings and Endings: Essays[one love affair]*of the mismatched teacups, of the single-serving spoon: a book of failures.
Her first book, The Body: An Essay, comprised of footnotes to a nonexistent text, is considered a canonical experimental text and has been excerpted in anthologies including The Next American Essay and The Best American Poetry.

“It’s exceptionally encouraging to be able to share such positive news at this terribly challenging time,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation.  “A Guggenheim fellowship has always offered practical assistance, helping fellows do their work, but for many of the new fellows, it may be a lifeline at a time of hardship, a survival tool as well as a creative one.”

Previous Guggenheim fellows affiliated with The Graduate Center include professors Suzanne Farrin (GC/Hunter, Music) and Helena Rosenblatt (History) in 2019; professors Esther Allen (GC/Baruch; Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures; Sociology/Modern Languages) and Alison Griffiths (GC/Baruch; Theatre/Communication Studies) and alumna Nandini Sikand (Ph.D. ’10, Anthropology) in 2018; Distinguished Professor Nancy Foner (GC/Hunter, Sociology) in 2017; Ph.D. student Joshua Mehigan (English) in 2015; professors Dagmar Herzog (History) and Joan Richardson (English, Comparative Literature, Liberal Studies) in 2012;  and Joshua Brown, executive director of American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning in 2010.