Thanks to the generosity of the Blake & Bailey Family Fund, author Alexander Chee will be joining us in 2021 as the John Grammer Fellow. Alexander Chee is the bestselling author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, and the essay collection How To Write An Autobiographical Novel, all from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. A contributing editor at The New Republic, and an editor at large at VQR, his essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, T Magazine, The Sewanee Review, and the 2016 and 2019 Best American Essays. He is a 2021 United States Artists Fellow, a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow in Nonfiction, and the recipient of a Whiting Award, a NEA Fellowship, an MCCA Fellowship, the Randy Shilts Prize in gay nonfiction, the Paul Engle Prize, the Lambda Editor’s Choice Prize, and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the VCCA, Leidig House, Civitella Ranieri and Amtrak. He teaches as an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College.
The Washington Post praised Edinburgh (2001) as “A coming-of-age tale in the grand Romantic tradition, where passions run high, Cupid stalks Psyche, and love shares the dance floor with death.” People magazine described The Queen of the Night (2016) as a “Sweeping, richly detailed” novel. NPR called it “Sprawling, soaring, bawdy, and plotted like a fine embroidery.” It was a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection and was named a best book of the year by Esquire, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, Buzzfeed, and NPR. Of Chee’s career-spanning essay collection, How To Write An Autobiographical Novel (2018), author and critic Garth Greenwell says, “I'm astonished by the wisdom of these essays, and how beautiful they are. A riveting account of activism and artistry, as well as a profound exploration of the intersections of identities and experiences that build up this novelist's composite eye. Alexander Chee is brilliant and brave in equal measure, and has written an essential book about how to survive as an artist in America today.”
The award, made possible by a gift from the Blake & Bailey Family Fund, brings a noted writer or scholar to Sewanee for an extended visit each summer during the School of Letters' academic term. The John Grammer Fellow is named in honor of founding School of Letters Director John Grammer and their reading is a part of the Summer Reading and Lecture Series.
(Photo by Robert Gill.)