The Growing Importance of Authors Awarded Fellowships

[By Kenton Rambsy]

Nella Larsen- First Black Woman to win a Guggenheim Fellowship (1930)
The Guggenheim Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) have been consistent sources of support for large numbers of critically acclaimed African American novelists.  Approximately 54% out of the 63 novelists in our study have received a fellowship of some kind—seven have received the MacArthur Foundation award, thirteen have received a Guggenheim, and eleven have received NEA awards.

Ishmael Reed author of Mumbo Jumbo (1972) received both a Guggenheim and an NEA award, Charles Johnson author of Middle Passage (1990) received MacArthur and Guggenheim awards, and Suzan-LoriParks author of Getting Mother’s Body (2003) received Guggenheim, MacArthur, and NEA awards. Nella Larsen, author of Quicksand (1928), was the first Black Woman to win a Guggenheim Fellowship (1930)