Residency Dates: October 14, 2018 - November 03, 2018
Application Deadline: May 13, 2018

Chris Abani is a Pabst Endowed Chair for Master Writers

Chris Abani is an acclaimed novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter, and playwright. Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and English mother, he grew up in Afikpo, Nigeria, received a BA in English from Imo State University, Nigeria, an MA in English, Gender, and Culture from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. He has resided in the United States since 2001.

Abani’s fiction includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), nominated for the Hurston/Wright 2015 Legacy Award, Song For Night (2007), The Virgin of Flames (2007), Becoming Abigail (2006), GraceLand (2004), and Masters of the Board (1985). His poetry collections are Sanctificum (2010), There Are No Names for Red (2010), Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (2010), Hands Washing Water (2006), Dog Woman (2004), Daphne’s Lot (2003), and Kalakuta Republic (2001). Poet Kwame Dawes has noted that “Abani’s line has a sharp precision that turns a scream into a line of memorable lyric music without losing the emotion and force.”

Through his TED Talks, public speaking, and essays, Abani is known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics, and our shared political responsibility. His critical and personal essays have been featured in books on art and photography, as well as Witness, Parkett, The New York Times, O Magazine, and Bomb.

He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award for Graceland, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Hebrew, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dutch, Bosnian, and Serbian.

Abani’s many research interests include African Poetics, World Literature, 20th Century Anglophone Literature, African Presences in Medieval and Renaissance Culture, The Living Architecture of Cities, West African Music, Postcolonial and Transnational Theory, Robotics and Consciousness, Yoruba and Igbo Philosophy, and Religion.

Abani is currently a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. He lives in Chicago.

Chris Abani’s website

Residency Statement

I want to work with fiction writers of any genre who are advanced in their writing and who have a book project they would like to explore and recalibrate. They should have a strong interest in psychology, theory, history and some social engagement. They must be open to the hard parts of the craft of narrative and see their work as built objects, as installations, and even maps. I would like a diverse working group. The ideal writer will be willing to master new techniques, styles and approaches to editing and rewriting.

Application Requirements

  1. Applicants should submit a minimum of 15 pages and a maximum of 25 pages of work. It can be a short story, or an excerpt from a larger work. If it is an excerpt the applicant should attach a one page synopsis of the larger piece. (.doc, .docx, .pdf)
  2. The applicant should also attach a letter of intent, no more than a page long, stating their aesthetic position and what they hope to accomplish at the residency. (.doc, .docx, .pdf)
  3. This cannot be the first workshop/critique the applicant has attended. The conversations will be pitched at an advanced level.
  4. Applicants should also attach a short bio. (.doc, .docx, .pdf)

Residency Fee: $900

Includes a $100 administration fee, weekday meals and housing; does not include artist materials, transportation, or weekend meals.

Scholarships / Financial Assistance

Only accepted Associate Artists may apply for financial assistance.

For details, please visit the master artist details page.

Application fee: $25

Click here to Apply!

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