Fellowships are awarded to fiction writer NoViolet Bulawayo, poet Jenny Johnson, playwright Jiehae Park, filmmaker Joshua Sanchez, and choreographer Karen Sherman

The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University has announced the selection of five Mary MacKall Gwinn Hodder Fellows for the 2016-2017 academic year. Fiction writer NoViolet Bulawayo, poet Jenny Johnson, playwright Jiehae Park, filmmaker Joshua Sanchez, and choreographer Karen Sherman are this year’s recipients of the Hodder Fellowship, created to provide artists and humanists in the early stages of their careers an opportunity to undertake significant new work.

“The Hodder Fellowships are awarded to people who have begun to build a respected body of work, but have not yet received widespread recognition,” noted Lewis Center Chair Michael Cadden in making the announcement. “Mrs. Hodder created an enviable opportunity for a year of what she called ‘studious leisure’ during which the fellows would have the time to move their work to the next level. Hodder Fellows do not teach. Their only obligation is to their work. We’re delighted to invite five such very different artists to join the Princeton community and share their areas of imaginative exploration.”

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.” Artists from anywhere may apply in the early fall each year for the following academic year. Past Hodder Fellows have included poet Michael Dickman, novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, playwright Will Eno, choreographer Nora Chipamurie, and composer and lyricist Michael Friedman.

Photo courtesy of Open Book

Photo courtesy of Open Book

NoViolet Bulawayo grew up in Zimbabwe and lives in Oakland, California. Her debut novel, We Need New Names, was recognized with the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Pen/Hemingway Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award (second place), and the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” Fiction Selection. We Need New Names was also shortlisted for The Guardian First Book Award and the Man Booker Prize. Bulawayo earned her M.F.A. at Cornell University, where she received the Truman Capote Fellowship, and now teaches at Stanford University as a Jones Lecturer in Fiction. She will work on a novel and short story collection during her fellowship year.

photo by Brooke Wyatt

photo by Brooke Wyatt

Jenny Johnson is a poet and educator based in Pittsburgh whose first collection of poems, In Full Velvet, is forthcoming from Sarabande Books in 2017. She was recently honored with a 2015 Whiting Award. Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry 2012Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, New England Review, Troubling the Line: Trans & Genderqueer Poetry & Poetics, and elsewhere. She won Beloit Poetry Journal ’s 2011 Chad Walsh Poetry Prize. She has also received awards and scholarships from the Blue Mountain Center, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She earned her M.F.A. in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. Currently, she is a Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh where she teaches writing and gender studies. As a Hodder Felllow, she will begin work on her second book of poems. 

Jiehae-Park-courtesy-of-Jiehae-ParkJiehae Park is a playwright and actor based in New York City. Her play peerless recently received its world premiere at Yale Rep and was part of the 2015 Cherry Lane Mentor Project. She is also one of the writers of Wondrous Strange (2016 ATL/Humana Festival). Her work has been developed through the Soho Rep W/D Lab, Playwrights Horizons, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, Playwrights Realm, the Emerging Writers Group at the Public, NYTW, Dramatists Guild Fellowship, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. Her plays have won the Leah Ryan Prize and Princess Grace Award (Hannah and the Dread Gazebo), and were included in two years of the Kilroys List. She has received commissions from Playwrights Horizons and McCarter Theatre and has been awarded residencies with the MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and McCarter Theatre, the last as a Sallie B. Goodman Fellow. Park has performed with La Jolla Playhouse, Studio Theatre, Tiny Little Band, REDCAT, and Sleep with Ripe Time/The Play Co. She received a B.A. in a Theater and Dance from Amherst College and an M.F.A. in Acting from University of California in San Diego. During her Fellowship year, she will focus on a new work about place, memory, loss, and the internet.

Joshua-Sanchez-courtesy-J-SanchezJoshua Sanchez, a screenwriter and director based in Brooklyn, is originally from Houston, Texas. He received his M.F.A. in Film from Columbia University and his Bachelor’s from the University of Texas at Austin’s Radio-Television-Film program. His debut feature film FOUR, released theatrically in 2013, won the Best Performance Award at the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Best Feature Film Award at the Urbanworld Film Festival, and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. He has been awarded grants from the Jerome Foundation and HBO for his work in film and video and will attend the Yaddo Artist’s Retreat in the Spring of 2016. He has taught screenwriting at the International Center for Photography and his experimental film series Screentests debuted at PS122 in New York City in 2012. During his Fellowship year, Sanchez will be writing and developing his next feature film, Fire in the Belly, based on the life and times of artist and activist David Wojnarowicz.

photo by Aaron Rosenblum

photo by Aaron Rosenblum

Karen Sherman is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and makes performances that incorporate her background in dance, writing, theater, music, and the handyman arts. Her work has been presented nationally by Walker Art Center, PS 122, Fusebox Festival, Movement Research, ODC, PICA, and The Chocolate Factory Theater, among many others. She has received numerous awards for her work as a choreographer, performer, and designer, including a 2007 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for her performance in Morgan Thorson’s Faker (2007), multiple McKnight Foundation Fellowships in Choreography and Dance, a Bush Foundation Fellowship, two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, and residencies with Vermont Performance Lab, Movement Research, Studio 206, and the Bogliasco Foundation in Liguria, Italy. Sherman received a B.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a double major in acting and women’s studies, followed by training in diverse disciplines including trapeze, acrobatics, instrumental and vocal music, woodwork and electrics, sculpture, and trick roping. As administrator and production manager of New York’s legendary Judson Church, she co-created, produced, and curated START, a multi-disciplinary series integrating politics and arts. She is also a freelance stage technician, carpenter, sound and scenic designer. Her current project, which she will develop during her Fellowship year, is Soft Goods, a dance/performance work created in collaboration with an ensemble of stage technicians and dancers that examines work, “aliveness,”, death, disappearance, and occupational self-obliteration. She will also develop a new dance/monologue project based on a 1970s murder in a blood bank.

In addition to creating new work, Hodder Fellows may engage in lectures, readings, performances, exhibitions and other events at the Lewis Center for the Arts, most of which are free and open to the public.