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C.V. Starr Center for the


Study of the American Experience

Current Fellows

Through its fellowship programs, the Starr Center supports innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to the American past – especially by fostering the art of written history.

Hodson Trust-John Carter Brown Fellow

Gretchen E. Henderson has been awarded the 2015-2016 Hodson Trust-John Carter Brown Fellowship. Gretchen E. Henderson writes across genres and the arts to invigorate her critical and creative practices. Her books include two novels, The House Enters the Street (shortlisted for the AWP Award Series) and Galerie de Difformité (winner of the Madeleine Plonsker Prize), along with a work of music criticism, On Marvellous Things Heard, and a poetry chapbook, Wreckage: By Land & By Sea. Her writings have been published in a wide range of journals and anthologies, including The Kenyon ReviewThe Iowa ReviewThe Southern ReviewPloughsharesThe &NOW Awards: The Best Innovative Writing, and Performance Research. Gretchen’s new book,Ugliness: A Cultural History (for Reaktion Books of London/University of Chicago Press) will be published in November of 2015. Among other awards, her fellowships include a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities from MIT. Gretchen is currently a Lecturer in English at Georgetown University and Affiliated Scholar in Art History at Kenyon College, where she also teaches in the Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop. 

Actively involved in artistic collaborations, Gretchen’s fellowship project, “Crafting the Bonds,” is a narrative and libretto for an opera framing the survival and recovery of The Bondwoman’s Narrative by Hannah Crafts (pseudonym for Hannah Bond): the earliest known novel written by an African American woman. The opera raises questions about the lives and afterlives of stories and will be composed by Elena Ruehr, a Guggenheim-winning composer on faculty at MIT. Gretchen’s first opera narrative and libretto,Cassandra in the Temples, also written for Elena Ruehr, premiered at MIT in 2014.