Past Fellows

“[A]t the time that I wanted to write stories and had stories to write, I felt free to write them, thanks to the fellowship.”
     —Flannery O’Connor

The 2018-2019 Kenyon Review Fellow

Keith S. WilsonKeith S. Wilson is an Affrilachian Poet, a Cave Canem fellow, and a graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. He serves as Assistant Poetry Editor at Four Way Review and Digital Media Editor and Web Consultant at Obsidian Journal. Wilson holds an MFA in poetry from Chicago State University and was recently selected as a Gregory Djanikian Scholar in Poetry by the Adroit Journal. His debut collection, Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press. His poetry, which has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net Award, appears in Blueshift Journal, American Letters & Commentary, 32 Poems, Drunken Boat, Cider Press Review, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, among others.

The 2016-2018 Kenyon Review Fellows

Photo of Jaquira DíazJaquira Díaz is the author of Ordinary Girls, a memoir, and I Am Deliberate, a novel, both forthcoming from Algonquin Books. She was a 2016-18 Kenyon Review Fellow, and is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, and many other fellowships. Her work appears in The Best American Essays 2016, Rolling Stone, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, and Consulting Editor at the Kenyon Review. ​

Photo of Margaree LittleMargaree Little is the author of Rest (Four Way Books, 2018), winner of the 2018 Balcones Poetry Prize and the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Tyrone Guthrie Center, and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Her criticism appears in American Poetry Review and Kenyon Review Online, and her poems appear in American Poetry Review, New England Review, Missouri Review, Southern Review, and Quarterly West, among other journals.

The 2014-2016 Kenyon Review Fellows

May-200x200-with-backgroundJamaal May is a poet and editor from Detroit, MI where he has taught poetry in public schools and worked as a freelance audio engineer and touring performer. His first full-length collection, Hum (Alice James Books, 2013), received the Beatrice Hawley Award and an NAACP Image Award nomination. Other honors include the 2013 Indiana Review Poetry Prize and a 2011-2013 Stadler Fellowship. Jamaal’s poems appear in such publications as The New Republic, Poetry, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, and Best American Poetry.

Photo of Melinda MoustakisMelinda Moustakis is the author of Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award. She is the recent recipient of the Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington fellowship at George Washington University and the Rona Jaffe Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library and is currently a visiting professor at UC Davis. She has a story anthologized in the forthcoming This Side of the Divide: Stories of the American West and is at work on a novel and story collection. 

The 2012-2014 Kenyon Review Fellows

Photo of Elizabeth Lindsey RogersElizabeth Lindsey Rogers is the author of Chord Box (University of Arkansas Press, 2013), finalist for both the Miller Williams Prize and the Lambda Literary Award. A new book of poetry is forthcoming in 2020. Her creative nonfiction was recently chosen for the Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017 and Best American Travel Writing 2017 anthologies. Most recently, Rogers was the Murphy Visiting Fellow in English-Creative Writing at Hendrix College from 2016-2019. She is a Contributing Editor at the Kenyon Review and a volunteer for the Veterans’ Writing Project.

Photo of Natalie ShaperoNatalie Shapero is the Professor of the Practice of Poetry at Tufts University. Her most recent poetry collection is Hard Child (Copper Canyon, 2017), which was shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize. Her previous collection, No Object (Saturnalia, 2013), received the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award. Natalie’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Poetry, and elsewhere, and she is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship.

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History of the Kenyon Review Fellows

The twentieth century has perhaps been the most dynamic period of American literary history to date. The Kenyon Review is proud of its influential role during this rich time period, when the journal was known for discovering, nurturing, and promoting new writers of significant talent. One way The Kenyon Review developed its reputation as a must-read for the literary audience of the time was establishing relationships with the best new writers through Fellowship awards. This tradition of fellowships at The Kenyon Review dates back to 1944, when the Rockefeller Foundation funded young critics to assist in editorial duties for the Review. The first Rockefeller Fellow was British critic Harold Whitehall, and his stipend was the first money ever paid by the Rockefeller Foundation to a literary magazine. Whitehall was followed by Eric Bentley, Charles Riker, and Robert Penn Warren, who was the fourth and final Rockefeller Fellow. The Rockefeller Fellows helped to shape the Review and influence the fiction, poetry, and criticism that the magazine published.

Beginning in 1952, through another grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, The Kenyon Review offered literary fellowships to writers, many of whom went on to become internationally recognized masters of their craft. Each year, the Review awarded fellowships in fiction, poetry, and criticism to such writers as Flannery O’Connor, W.S. Merwin, and James Wright giving them the financial freedom to devote themselves to writing. These fellowships played a pivotal role in allowing some of the most vital American writers of the past century to develop their voices, and with the new KR Fellowships, The Kenyon Review will continue its legacy of supporting excellent emerging writers.

In 2012, The Kenyon Review opened a new chapter of this tradition. By bringing the first recipients of the new Kenyon Review Fellowships to Gambier in the summer of 2012, we affirmed this ongoing aspect of our mission: to identify and support talented writers in the earlier stages of their careers. And for the first time, we also offered them significant opportunities to grow as teachers and editors as well.

Recipients of the original Kenyon Review literary fellowships:

Poetry:

  • Edwin Watkins (1953)
  • W.S. Merwin (1954)
  • Edgar Collins Bogardus (1955)
  • Douglas Nichols (1955)
  • Ruth Stone (1956)
  • Delmore Schwartz (1957)
  • James Wright (1958)
  • Theodore Henry Holmes (1958)

Fiction:

  • Flannery O’Connor (1953, 1954)
  • George Lanning (1954)
  • Howard Nemerov (1955)
  • Andrew Lytle (1956)
  • James F. Powers (1957)
  • Elizabeth Spencer (1957)
  • Robie Macauley (1958)

Criticism:

  • Irving Howe (1953)
  • Richard W.B. Lewis (1954)
  • Richard Ellmann (1955)
  • Leslie Fiedler (1956)
  • Theodore Hoffman (1956)
  • Frances Fergusson (1957)
  • Thomas Henry Carter (1958)