MMUF PhD Joshua Bennett, an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Dartmouth College and a poet and literary critic, is the winner of two major 2021 awards: the Guggenheim Fellowship in American Literature and the Whiting Award for poetry and nonfiction. The Guggenheim Fellowship, as described on the foundation's website, is awarded to "exceptional individuals in pursuit of scholarship in any field of knowledge and creation in any art form, under the freest possible conditions." Fellowships vary in duration and monetary amount, but are intended to give the recipients time and freedom to complete projects. Whiting Award winners, meanwhile, are anonymously nominated by literary professionals who believe their work to demonstrate "early accomplishment and the promise of great work to come"; the award includes a prize of $50,000.
Professor Bennett is the author of two volumes of poetry, The Sobbing School (2015) and Owed (2020), along with Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man (2020), a work of literary criticism that considers the ways in which 20th and 21st century Black writers depict boundaries between the human and the nonhuman. He was originally selected for MMUF as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, and later earned his PhD in English from Princeton University. He will use the two awards to complete two upcoming book projects: a narrative nonfiction work called Spoken Word: a Cultural History (forthcoming from Knopf) and The Study of Human Life, a new poetry collection (forthcoming from Penguin Books).