Lewis Center for the Arts Names Hodder Fellows for 2013-14
Filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu, poet Katy E. Didden, writer Adam Ross, and choreographer Pam Tanowitz are selected
The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University has announced the selection of four Mary MacKall Gwinn Hodder Fellows for the 2013-14 academic year. Filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu, poet Katy E. Didden, writer Adam Ross, and choreographer Pam Tanowitz were chosen from a pool of over 1,100 applicants to receive this award, created to provide artists and humanists in the early stages of their career a period of “studious leisure” to undertake significant new work.
“The Hodder Fellowships are awarded to people have demonstrated exceptional promise, but have not yet received widespread recognition,” noted Lewis Center Chair Michael Cadden in making the announcement. “We have a very strong and diverse group of artists joining us next year, and Princeton prides itself in buying them time to move their work to the next level. Hodder Fellows do not teach. Their only obligation is to their work.”
Hodder Fellows may be writers, composers, choreographers, visual artists, performance artists, or other kinds of artists or humanists who have, as the program outlines, "much more than ordinary intellectual and literary gifts"; they are selected more "for promise than for performance." While many have published a first book or created other work that has contributed to their field of endeavor, the fellowship provides them the opportunity to devote themselves fully to their current or next project. Artists from anywhere may apply in the fall each year for the following academic year. Their proposals include a description of what they hope to achieve during the fellowship period. Past Hodder Fellows have included poet John Berryman, novelist Chimamando Ngozi Adichie, playwright Doug Wright, and composer and lyricist Michael Friedman.
Chinonye Chukwu is a Nigerian-born, Alaskan-raised screenwriter, producer and director. A 2009 recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Award, her debut feature film, AlaskaLand, was selected to screen globally, including at the Chicago International Film Festival and the New York African Festival at Lincoln Center. Chukwu’s short film, The Dance Lesson, premiered at the Ritz Theater of Philadelphia and was later licensed by mindTV for regional network distribution. The film was also a Regional Finalist for the 2010 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Student Academy Awards. She has just completed the short narrative, bottom, which will soon premier in the festival circuit. Currently, she is in pre-production for her next project, a film adaptation of the anthologized short story, A Walk Through the Neighborhood. She plans on producing, directing and editing this film during her time as a Hodder Fellow.
“The Hodder Fellowship will give me the space to focus solely on my art and to take my career to the next level,” notes Chukwu. “This is something that so many artists who are on the cusp of stepping into their artistic destinies do not have the luxury of doing. I am so excited and very honored.”
Katy Didden grew up in Washington D.C., and has lived in Seattle, Chicago, and St. Louis. After college, she worked in L’Arche communities for people with disabilities in Seattle and Paris, then went on to earn an MFA from the University of Maryland, and a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri. Her first book, The Glacier’s Wake, won the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize from Pleiades Press and will be published next month. She has published poems in journals such as Bat City Review, The Kenyon Review, Image, Smartish Pace, and Poetry. During her fellowship, Didden plans to complete a chapbook of poems, The Lava on Iceland, and to continue writing poems for a new book.
Adam Ross's debut novel Mr. Peanut, a 2010 New York Times Notable Book, was also named one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New Republic, and The Economist. Ladies and Gentlemen, his story collection, was one of Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2011 and included "In the Basement," a finalist for the BBC's International Story Award. His non-fiction has been featured in The Nashville Scene, The New York Times Book Review, The Daily Beast, Tin House, and The Wall Street Journal. His fiction has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly and FiveChapters. During his fellowship year, Ross will be working on a new novel about a very bad year in the life of a child actor.
Pam Tanowitz founded Pam Tanowitz Dance in 2000, and has received commissions and residencies at The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process program, and Baryshnikov Arts Center. Additionally, the company has performed at the American Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Tanowitz received a 2009 Bessie Award for Be in the Gray With Me at Dance Theater Workshop and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011. Additional awards include funding from the Jerome Robbins Foundation, a New York Foundation for the Arts BUILD Grant, a Joyce Theater Residency Grant (with major support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. She has collaborated with New York City Ballet Dancers and American Ballet Theater Dancers, and has set her work on students at The Julliard School, Purchase Dance Corp, Marymount Manhattan College, Oregon Ballet Theater, and Ohio State University. She was on faculty for American Ballet Theater, ABT/Bermuda and taught at Hunter College, American Dance Festival, Sarah Lawrence College and Greenwich Academy. Tanowitz holds a BFA in Dance from Ohio State University and an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was mentored by former Merce Cunningham principal dancer Viola Farber-Slayton. She also studied at the American Dance Festival and Bates Dance Festival and has studied choreography with Martha Myers and Dan Hurlin. During her fellowship she will research and develop a new dance for The Joyce Theater, as well as create an original work for Princeton dance students.
In addition to creating new work, Hodder Fellows engage in lectures, performances and other events at the Lewis Center for the Arts, most of which are open to the public.
The Lewis Center for the Arts encompasses Princeton University’s academic programs in creative writing, dance, theater, and visual arts, as well as the interdisciplinary Princeton Atelier.
The Center represents a major initiative of President Shirley M. Tilghman to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton. Over 100 diverse public performances, exhibitions, readings, and lectures are offered each year, most of them free or at a nominal admission fee. For more information about the Lewis Center for the Arts visit princeton.edu/arts.