Alexandra Kleeman, SPE Assistant Professor of Writing, winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction

Alexandra Kleeman

Alexandra Kleeman, SPE Assistant Professor of Writing, winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction

Established nearly 100 years ago, the Guggenheim Foundation awards scholarships to a highly select group of accomplished individuals for decades. This year’s winners have all made significant contributions to their respective fields, including SPE Assistant Professor of Writing Alexandra Kleeman, who received a fellowship for fiction.

An author of both fiction and non-fiction, Kleeman is well known for her popular book You too can have a body like mine and his latest novel, Brand new under the sun, among other works. In addition to the Guggenheim, she was a recipient of the Prix de Rome and the Prix de Berlin. With support from the scholarship, she plans to take a year off from teaching and work on a new novel centered on economic insecurity.

“It’s amazing to be awarded a Guggenheim, especially knowing how competitive that honor is and how fascinating, dynamic and boundary-pushing work there is,” Kleeman said. “This year’s cohort puts me in the company of writers I’ve long admired, many of whom I consider friends, all of whose work feeds into my own and points a way forward for writing in the 21st century. ”

In her year without teaching, Kleeman plans to write up, reframe and sift through the research she’s gathered over the past two years for her novel which will explore the rise and fall of money. His new book will also explore “the island as a symbol of radical divergence and a cautiously utopian notion of becoming”.

As an assistant professor of writing at SPE, Kleeman teaches the works of her Guggenheim cohort and finds that their work has inspired and encouraged her students as they seek to pursue careers in writing. writing and the arts. The New School’s writing program has also profoundly shaped Kleeman’s work, and she is grateful for how her students and colleagues approach the writing process.

“In the writing program, we live our values ​​of democratic and collaborative community in a very real sense,” Kleeman said. “We believe in inventing, exploring and creating forms that suit our stories and represent the world – and this has helped me, in my work, to feel that I can dream in my project and come up with a form unconventional but also hopefully welcoming to the reader.

Now that she’s had varying levels of success as a writer, Kleeman believes students need to stay focused on their passions and what truly excites them each day. The world of posts can get overwhelming, but she recommends putting effort into what feeds you, rather than ruminating on the possible rewards.

“It seems counterintuitive, but you can’t predict what the system wants to reward — the only thing you have control over is making your own work as rich, comprehensive, and reflective of your values ​​as possible,” Kleeman explained. .

As Kleeman prepares to start the Fellowship, she’s also writing a screenplay for her book. Something new under the sun, and wrote the preface to a book by one of his favorite French philosophers.

Scott R. Banks