Biography Fellows

Headshot of Rebecca Donner


Rebecca Donner

Rebecca Donner is the author of a novel, Sunset Terrace (MacAdam/Cage), and a graphic novel, Burnout(DC Comics). Her essays, reportage, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times Book Reviewand Bookforum. A graduate of the Columbia University MFA Writing Program, Donner is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and a recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, Ucross Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. As a Leon Levy Fellow she will work on a biography of Mildred Harnack, an American literary scholar who was a leader of one of the largest anti-Nazi resistance groups in Germany, to be published by Little, Brown.

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Stephen Heyman

Stephen Heyman spent much of his career at The New York Times, where he was most recently features editor of T Magazine. In addition to The Times, his articles about culture, travel, and design have appeared in SlateEsquireTravel & LeisureDeparturesVogue and W. He now lives in Pittsburgh and is at work on a biography of Louis Bromfield, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lost Generation novelist and agricultural pioneer. The book will be published by W.W. Norton & Company.

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Jennifer Homans

Jennifer Homans is the author of Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (2010). She is the Founder and Director of The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, where she is also a Distinguished Scholar in Residence. Homans was the Dance Critic for The New Republic for over a decade and has also written for the New York Times and the New York Review of Books. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Modern European History from New York University. She was a professional dancer and is currently working on a biography of George Balanchine.

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Samanth Subramanian

Samanth Subramanian is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. His reportage has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, WIRED, Harper’s, and the Guardian, among other publications. His second book, This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War(2014), won the 2015 Crossword Prize for Non Fiction and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Non Fiction Prize and the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize the same year. He is working on a biography of the scientist J. B. S. Haldane.


Biography Fellows

Headshot of Justin Gifford

Justin Gifford

Justin Gifford is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno.  His research and teaching focuses on African American cultural history and American literature.  He is the author of two books, Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Publishing and Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim.  He is currently researching and writing a biography of Eldridge Cleaver.

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Eleanor Randolph

Eleanor Randolph, a former member of The New York Times editorial board, is working on a biography of Michael Bloomberg, billionaire, politician and philanthropist. Ms. Randolph, a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, has worked as a national correspondent for The Washington Post, covering the media, Moscow and New York City. She wrote a book on Russian life, “Waking the Tempests: Ordinary Life in the New Russia” published by Simon & Schuster in 1996.  As a national correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, she covered presidents and presidential campaigns,the  environment and New York City. In recognition of her editorials over 18 years at The Times, she was named one of the 50 most influential people over 50 in New York in 2016 by City & State Magazine.

Headshot of Bruce Weber

Bruce Weber

In a 30-year career at The New York Times, Bruce Weber was an editor at the Sunday magazine, a metro reporter, a theater columnist and critic, the paper’s first national cultural correspondent and, for the final eight years of his tenure, an obituary writer. A former fiction editor at Esquire, he was the editor of Look Who’s Talking (1986), an anthology of 20th-century American short stories. He is the author of Savion! My Life in Tap(with the dancer Savion Glover, 2000) As They See ‘Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires (2009), which became a New York Times bestseller, and a memoir, Life Is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America (2014). A graduate of the University of Michigan with an M.A. in American literature from Columbia, he lives in Manhattan and Orient, N.Y. He is at work on a biography of E.L. Doctorow.

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Lindsay Whalen

Lindsay Whalen began her career as a book editor, and is a graduate of Brooklyn College’s MFA in Fiction, where she was the recipient of a Truman Capote Fellowship and the 2015 Lainoff Short Story Prize. As a Leon Levy fellow, she will work on a biography of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver, to be published by the Penguin Press.

Dissertation Fellow

Micki Kaufman (History)

Micki Kaufman earned her MA and MPhil in US History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she is a doctoral candidate. She earned her BA in US History summa cum laude from Columbia University in 2011. She is a co-author of “General, I Have Fought Just As Many Nuclear Wars As You Have,” published in the December 2012 American Historical Review. In 2015 she was awarded the ACH and ADHO’s Lisa Lena and Paul Fortier Prizes for best Digital Humanities paper worldwide by an emerging scholar for her dissertation, “‘Everything on Paper Will Be Used Against Me:’ Quantifying Kissinger.” In 2016 Micki was elected to serve on the Executive Council of the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH). 


Biography Fellows

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Cynthia Carr

Cynthia Carr is the author of Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz, winner of a Lambda Literary Award and a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize; Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America; and On Edge: Performance at the End of the Twentieth Century. She chronicled the work of contemporary artists as a Village Voice staff writer for two decades, and her work has appeared in ArtforumThe New York Times, and elsewhere. She was awarded a Guggenheim in 2007. As a Leon Levy fellow she will work on a biography of the transgender actress Candy Darling, to be published by Flatiron Books. (Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders)

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Heather Clark

Heather Clark is a scholar and critic, and the author of The Ulster Renaissance: Poetry in Belfast 1962-1972, and The Grief of Influence: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, both published by Oxford University Press. She earned her doctorate in English from Oxford University, and has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the British Library. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing. As a Leon Levy fellow, she will work on Sylvia Plath: The Light of the Mind, which will be published by Knopf.

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Aidan Levy

Aidan Levy is the author of Dirty Blvd.: The Life and Music of Lou Reed, published by Chicago Review Press in 2015. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Village VoiceJazzTimes, and Blue Note Records Spotlight. He is a doctoral student at Columbia University in the Department of English and Comparative Literature with a subfield in jazz studies. He performs in the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance program at Columbia and is the baritone saxophonist in the Stan Rubin Orchestra. As a Leon Levy fellow he will work on a biography of the pioneer jazz musician Sonny Rollins.

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Adam Plunkett

Adam Plunkett has written about poetry for a number of publications, including The New York Times Book Review, the Times Literary Supplement, the Poetry FoundationDesign Observer, The PointThe Nationn+1, and The New Republic, where he worked as the assistant literary editor. As a Leon Levy fellow, he will work on a critical biography of Robert Frost, which will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Dissertation Fellows

Melina Moore (English)

Melina Moore is a doctoral candidate in English whose dissertation is entitled “Trans Life Writing from the 18th Century to the Present: Genres in Transition,” examining the way transgender subjects engage with and revise existing narrative forms in the Western autobiographical tradition to tell stories of gender crossing.

Madison Priest (English)

Madison Priest is a doctoral candidate in English whose dissertation, “Women We Don’t Want to Be: The Female-Authored Antiheroine in American Modernism,” borrows and adapts methodologies from middlebrow and periodical studies to offer a theoretically and historically robust account of female-authored antiheroines – “the woman we don’t want to be.”


Biography Fellows

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Colin Asher

Colin Asher is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Believer, the Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. He teaches reading and writing as an Instructor at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY, and was a 2014 fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts in nonfiction literature. Asher’s essay “But Never a Lovely So Real,” a profile of Nelson Algren, winner of the first National Book Award and the author of eleven books, was recently included in Read Harder, an anthology of the best Believer essays of the past five years. As a Leon Levy fellow he worked on a biography of Algren, which will be published by W.W. Norton & Co. (Photo: Andrew A. Nelles)

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Blake Gopnik

Blake Gopnik is a regular contributor to the New York Times and a frequent guest on Marketplace radio. His Daily Pic column goes out to his many Tumblr and Twitter followers and ArtnetNews.com, where he is Critic at Large. Gopnik earned a PhD in art history from Oxford, and in Canada he was the editor of Insite, the architecture and design magazine, and art critic at The Globe and Mail. For ten years he was chief art critic of The Washington Post, before becoming art and design critic for Newsweek and its Daily Beast website. As a Leon Levy fellow he worked on Andy Warhol: A Life as Art, the first comprehensive biography of the Pop artist, which will be published by HarperCollins/Ecco.

Headshot of Gordana Dana Grozdanic

Gordon-Dana Grozdanić

Gordana-Dana Grozdanić is a lecturer at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, where she teaches German and Eastern European literatures and German language. In her first book, ´Vor unserer Haustür.´ Auseinandersetzungen deutschsprachiger Autoren mit dem Jugoslawienkrieg, 1991-1996 [At Our Doorsteps.´ The Yugoslav War in the German-speaking Literature], she explored how German speaking authors grappled with the secession wars in the former Yugoslavia. Her interests include recent Central and South European literature, literary encounters between the German-speaking and South Slavic cultures, and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian exile and war literature. As a Leon Levy fellow she worked on a biography of Zija Dizdarević, the Bosnian interwar writer, whose short stories she is translating into English.

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Eric K. Washington

Eric K. Washington is an independent historian and the author of Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem, which prompted an exhibition at City College, CUNY, where he has taught in the Adult and Continuing Education program. Washington received the Municipal Art Society’s 2010 MASterworks Award for his interpretive signage in West Harlem Piers Park, and he is a fellow in Columbia University’s Community Scholars Program. His articles, talks and tours on Upper Manhattan have appeared in numerous print, online, podium and curbside forums, and he is featured prominently in Phillip Lopate’s Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan, and Jonathan R. Wynn’s The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York. As a Leon Levy fellow he worked on a biography of James H. Williams, the former chief porter or “Red Cap” of Grand Central Terminal, which will be published by Liveright / W.W. Norton & Company.

Dissertation Fellows

Jennifer Chancellor (English)

Jennifer Chancellor is a doctoral candidate in English whose dissertation is entitled “Portrait of the Artist, as an Ad Man: Advertising, Masculinity, and the American Postmodern Novel,” examining the work and lives of Joseph Heller, Don DeLillo, Kurt Vonnegut, and Thomas Pynchon.

Daron Jabari Howard (Sociology)

Daron Jabari Howard is a doctoral candidate in Sociology whose dissertation is a group biography of several chess players in Washington Square, entitled “The Chess Hustlers.”


Biography Fellows

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Esther Allen

Esther Allen is Associate Professor of Modern Languages at Baruch College, CUNY, where her research focuses on translation, 19th and 20th century Latin American and French literature, and issues in anglophone globalization. She has been a fellow of the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellow, and she is co-founder of the PEN/Heim Translation Fund and the PEN World Voices festival. She is co-editor of In Translation: Translators on their Work and What It Means, and she has translated works by Javier Marías, José Manuel Prieto, and many others. As a Leon Levy fellow she worked on a biography of José Martí, the Cuban writer and political activist whose Selected Writings she edited, translated, and annotated for Penguin Classics.

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Peter Filkins

Peter Filkins is a poet and translator who teaches writing and literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and translation at Bard’s main campus. He is the author of four books of poetry, What She KnewAfter HomerAugustine’s Vision, and The View We’re Granted, and he has translated the collected poems of Ingeborg Bachmann, Songs in Flight, and her novels The Book of Franza and Requiem for Fanny Goldmann. He has been a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin, and he has received awards from the American Literary Translators Association, the Austrian government, and DAAD, Fulbright, Marbach, and other fellowships. His work has appeared in The New RepublicThe American ScholarThe Paris ReviewThe New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. As a Leon Levy fellow, he worked on a biography of H.G. Adler, whose Holocaust novels The JourneyPanorama, and The Wall he has translated, all published by Random House. His biography of Adler will be published by Oxford University Press.

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Ruth Franklin

Ruth Franklin is a book critic and contributing editor at The New Republic. She has written for many publications, including The New YorkerThe New York Review of BooksThe New York Times MagazineBookforumGranta, and Salmagundi, to which she contributes a regular film column. Her first book, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, was a finalist for the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature. She has been a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and received a Guggenheim fellowship in biography. As a Leon Levy fellow, she worked on a biography of the American writer Shirley Jackson, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, published in September 2016 by Liveright / W.W. Norton & Company.

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James Romm

James Romm is the James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Classics at Bard College, specializing in ancient Greek and Roman history. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Wall Street JournalLondon Review of Books, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. He edited the Landmark edition of Arrian’s Campaigns of Alexander, and he is the author of The Edges of the Earth in Ancient ThoughtHerodotusGhost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire, and Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero. As a Leon Levy fellow he worked on a biography of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the Italian Renaissance philosopher.

Dissertation Fellows

Meredith Benjamin (English)

Meredith Benjamin is a doctoral candidate in English whose dissertation is entitled “Creating Feminist Identities: The Autobiographical across Genres in the 1970s and 1980s.”

Christopher Silsby (Theatre)

Christopher Silsby is a doctoral candidate in Theatre whose dissertation is entitled “African American Performers in Stalin’s Soviet Union.”


Biography Fellows

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Alexandra Chasin

Alexandra Chasin is Assistant Professor of Writing at Eugene Lang College, The New School, having earned a PhD in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford and an MFA at Vermont College. She is the author of a nonfiction work, Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market, as well as two books of fiction: a collection of short innovative fictions entitled Kissed By, and Brief, an ‘app’ novella for the iPad. Chasin is a past recipient of a Whiting Dissertation Fellowship, a Bunting Institute Fellowship, and a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. As a Leon Levy fellow she worked on a biography of Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Her book Assassin of Youth: A Kaleidoscopic History of Harry J. Anslinger’s War on Drugs was published in October 2016 by the University of Chicago Press.

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Andrew Meier

Andrew Meier is Assistant Professor of Writing at Eugene Lang College, The New School. He is the author of Black Earth: A Journey Through Russia After the Fall, and The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin’s Secret Service, both published by Norton and named books of the year by The Washington PostThe Los Angeles Times, and NPR. He has reported on Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus for two decades, including as Moscow correspondent for Time, and is a contributor to The New York Times Magazine. Meier has received fellowships from the NEH, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation, and he was the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellow at the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library. As a Leon Levy fellow he worked on The House of Morgenthau: An American Family.

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Pamela Newkirk

Pamela Newkirk is Professor of Journalism at New York University and the author of Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media, which received the National Press Club Award for Media Criticism. She is the editor of A Love No Less: More Than Two Centuries of African American Love Letters, and Letters from Black America. Newkirk has worked as a daily journalist at four different news organizations, including New York Newsday, where in 1990 she was among the reporting team awarded a Pulitzer Prize for spot news. Her primary areas of interest are race in the news media and African American art and culture. As a Leon Levy fellow she worked on a biography of Ota Benga, the Congolese man exhibited at the Bronx Zoo. Her book Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga was published by Amistad / HarperCollins in July 2015.

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Justin Spring

Justin Spring, a writer on 20th century American art and culture, is the author of two interdisciplinary biographies, Fairfield Porter: A Life in Art, and Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist and Sexual Renegade. Both biographies examine the lives of artists whose work combined the practice of visual art with literature, poetry, criticism, and social and political activism. Secret Historian was a National Book Award Finalist and the recipient of many other prizes. In addition to his work as a biographer, Spring is an award-winning curator who has published many monographs and museum catalogues, most recently Andy Warhol: Fame and Misfortune. As a Leon Levy fellow he worked on a biography of the Chilean surrealist painter Roberto Matta.

Dissertation Fellows

Adrian Izquierdo (Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages)

Adrian Izquierdo is a doctoral candidate in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages whose dissertation is entitled “Translating History, Translating Lives: Pierre Matthieu and the Translation of Political Biography in 17th Century Spain.”

Anna Simonson (History)

Anna Simonson is a doctoral candidate in History whose dissertation is entitled “‘Calling attention to the great women of history’: Katharine Anthony, Alma Lutz, and the Birth of Feminist Historical Biography, 1920-1964.”


Biography Fellows

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Susan Bernofsky

Susan Bernofsky has translated 18 books, including six by the Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser, and novels by Jenny Erpenbeck, Yoko Tawada, Gregor von Rezzori, and others. She is Chair of the PEN Translation Committee and sits on the PEN board. She received the 2006 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize and the 2012 Calwer Hermann Hesse Translation Prize, as well as awards and fellowships from the American Council of of Learned Societies, the PEN Translation Fund, the NEA, the NEH, and the Lannan Foundation. She has a PhD in Comparative Literature from Princeton, and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Washington University. She is also the author of Foreign Words: Translator-Authors in the Age of Goethe, and co-editor (with Esther Allen) of In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What it Means. Bernofsky has taught at Queens College, CUNY, and currently teaches literary translation in the MFA Writing Program of the Columbia University School of the Arts, where she serves as Director of Literary Translation. As a Leon Levy fellow she worked on a biography of Robert Walser, which will be published by Yale University Press. (Photo: Jacobia Dahm)

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Langdon Hammer

Langdon Hammer, Professor of English and American Studies at Yale University, earned his BA and PhD from Yale. A former Guggenheim fellow, he is the author of Hart Crane and Allen Tate: Janus-Faced Modernism, and editor of O My Land, My Friends: The Selected Letters of Hart Crane, the Library of America’s Hart Crane: Complete Poems and Selected Letters, and May Swenson: Collected Poems. His reviews of new poetry and literary criticism have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Raritan, andThe Yale Review, among other magazines, and he is poetry editor of The American Scholar. As a Leon Levy fellow he completed work on his biography James Merrill: Life and Art, published by Knopf in April 2015.

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Siobhan Roberts

Siobhan Roberts is a Toronto journalist and author whose work focuses on mathematics and science. Her first book, King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, The Man Who Saved Geometry, won the Mathematical Association of America’s 2009 Euler Prize for expanding the public’s view of mathematics. She wrote and produced a documentary, The Man Who Saved Geometry, which aired on TVOntario’s The View from Here. Her second book, Wind Wizard: Alan Davenport and the Art of Wind Engineering, will be published by Princeton, and she is currently a visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study. She has written for The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, The Mathematical Intelligencer, Leonardo, The New York Times, Smithsonian, and other publications. As a Leon Levy fellow she worked on her biography of the mathematician John Horton Conway, Genius at Play, published by Bloomsbury in July 2015.

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Damion Searls

Damion Searls is the author of Everything You Say Is True, a travelogue, and What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going, a collection of stories. He has written for Harper’s, The Believer, n+1, The Paris Review, Bookforum, Brick, and others, and is the editor of Thoreau’s The Journal: 1837-1861. He is an award-winning translator from German, French, Dutch, and Norwegian, including books by Proust, Rilke, Ingeborg Bachmann, Hans Keilson, and Nescio, as well as biographies of Anne Frank’s family and of Martin Kippenberger. His forthcoming translations include a collection of stories by Robert Walser, the last novel by Christa Wolf, and a new translation of Hermann Hesse’s Demian. As a Leon Levy fellow he worked on a biography of the Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing, published by Crown in February 2017.

Dissertation Fellows

Peter-Christian Aigner (History)

Peter-Christian Aigner is a doctoral candidate in History whose dissertation is entitled “Daniel Patrick Moynihan and the Reconstruction of Liberalism, 1965-1996.”

Lauren Kaplan (Art History)

Lauren Kaplan is a doctoral candidate in Art History whose dissertation is entitled “Crossing the Atlantic: Italians in Argentina, 1916-1946.”


Biography Fellows

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Adam Begley

Adam Begley, for many years the books editor of The New York Observer, is the author, with Ed Sorel, of Certitude: A Profusely Illustrated Guide to Blockheads and Bullheads, Past and Present; and with Laura Miller he edited The Salon.com Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Authors. In the 1990s he was a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine; Mirabella, where he wrote a monthly book column; and Lingua Franca, where he was a contributing editor. He is previously a Guggenheim Fellow, and as a Leon Levy fellow he worked the first biography of John Updike, the prolific and driven novelist, critic, story writer and poet who had but one cheer for literary biography. Updike was published by HarperCollins in 2014.

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Madison Smartt Bell

Madison Smartt Bell is the author of some twenty books, including All Souls’ Rising, Devil’s Dream, Toussaint L’ouverture: A Biography, and (most recently) The Color of Night. He is a Professor of English at Goucher College and co-founder of Goucher’s undergraduate creative writing program. In 2008 he was a recipient of a Strauss Living from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. As a Leon Levy fellow he worked on the first English-language biography of the Haitian revolutionary Jean Jacques Dessalines.

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Elizabeth Kendall

Elizabeth Kendall is the author of two cultural histories, Where She Danced, the Birth of American Art Dance, and The Runaway Bride: Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the 1930s; and two memoirs, American Daughter and Autobiography of a Wardrobe. She is a professor at The New School’s Eugene Lang College and its Liberal Studies Program, and a contributing editor for Dance Magazine. As a Leon Levy fellow she worked on a dual biography of George Balanchine and the ballerina Lidiia Ivanova, Balanchine and the Lost Muse, published by Oxford in 2013.

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D.T. Max

D.T. Max is a staff writer for The New Yorker. His previous book, The Family That Couldn’t Sleep, was a scientific and cultural study of prion diseases, published in 2006. As a Leon Levy fellow he completed the first biography of David Foster Wallace, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, published by Viking in 2012, a New York Times bestseller named by several critics as one of the best books of the year.

Dissertation Fellows

Thomas W. Hafer (American History)

Thomas W. Hafer is a doctoral candidate in American History. His dissertation explores art, identity, and sexuality from the 1930s through the 1970s by examining the lives and works of such bohemians as Parker Tyler and Charles Henri Ford.

Ikuyo Nakagawa (Art History)

Ikuyo Nakagawa is a doctoral candidate in Art History. Her dissertation will examine all aspects of the career of Japanese-born painter, Tsuguharu Foujita, in the international context of the historical avant-garde.


Biography Fellows

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Michael Massing

Michael Massing is the author of The Fix, a critical study of the US war on drugs, and Now They Tell Us: The American Press and Iraq. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, a contributing editor at the Columbia Journalism Review, and a co-founder of the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 1992, he was named a MacArthur Fellow. While at the Leon Levy Center, he worked on his biography of Luther and Erasmus, to be published by HarperCollins.

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Jed Perl

Jed Perl is the art critic for The New Republic and the author of a number of books, including New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century, Antoine’s Alphabet: Watteau and His World, and Eyewitness: Reports from an Art World in Crisis. He is a visiting professor in the Liberal Studies Program at The New School and is currently working on the first full-length biography of Alexander Calder, to be published by Knopf.

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Claudia Roth Pierpont

Claudia Roth Pierpont is a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she has written some three dozen essays ranging in subject from Nietzsche to Mae West to contemporary Arabic fiction. A collection of her essays on women writers, Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. At the Leon Levy Center, she worked on a cultural history of twentieth-century New York in the form of juxtaposed biographies, considering six individuals and four partnerships – including Alfred Barr at the Museum of Modern Art, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein at New York City Ballet, and W. H. Auden – whose overlapping ideals, both moral and aesthetic, helped to make the city the cultural center of the world.

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Mitchell Cohen

Mitchell Cohen is professor of political science at Baruch College and the Graduate Center of CUNY. He was co-editor of Dissent Magazine from 1991-2009 and serves now on its editorial board and that of Jewish Social Studies. While at the Leon Levy Center he worked on writing a political biography of Richard Wagner, especially examining the controversial composer in his times and the roles of anarchism, nationalism and anti-Semitism in his operas. Professor Cohen’s past books include The Wager of Lucien Goldmann, Zion and State, and, as co-editor, Princeton Readings in Political Thought. His articles have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement<