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Guggenheim Foundation Honors UAlbany Professor and Novelist

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 6, 2006) -- University at Albany professor of English and writer in residence Lynne Tillman has been awarded a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The fellowships are awarded to professionals who have demonstrated exceptional ability by publishing a significant body of work in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the creative arts.

"The University at Albany is enriched, and inspired, by Lynn Tillman's work and the national recognition she brings to our campus," said University at Albany President Kermit L. Hall. "We all join in wishing her continued success."

"The Guggenheim Foundation prides itself on 'identifying exceptionally gifted men and women whose contribution to our nation's educational and cultural well-being has been profound,' said Department of English chair Stephen North. "We are therefore delighted with the foundation's recognition of what English department faculty and students already knew: that Lynne Tillman belongs in that company."

Tillman's fifth novel American Genius, a Comedy (Softskull Press) will be published in October. Her previous novels are No Lease on Life (1997), a New York Times Notable Book of 1998 and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Cast in Doubt (1992), Motion Sickness (1991), and Haunted Houses (1987). In addition, she has published three books of short stories, an essay collection, and two other nonfiction books.

Tillman joined the University at Albany as an associate professor and writer in residence in spring 2002, and became a full professor in 2005. In the spring, she divides her time between writing at her home in Manhattan and teaching a graduate fiction writing workshop and advanced writing for undergraduates at UAlbany.

"You are only as good as your students," Tillman said. "You really need students who want to learn, and my students are really engaged. I am having such a great time this semester."

The daughter of a homemaker and artist, and a father who designed fabrics and manufactured textiles, Tillman wanted to be a writer from the age of eight. Raised in Woodmere, Long Island, Tillman didn't think much of suburban life and chronicled her thoughts about it in her first "novel," The Suburbanites. She was 10 years old.

"If you want to be a fiction writer, you're not making a rational choice," Tillman said. "You have to have persistence and tremendous desire. And, maybe... be a little insane."

Guggenheim Fellowships are distributed by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, founded in 1925 by former United States Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon Guggenheim, who died in 1922.

The 2006 Fellowship winners include 187 artists, scholars, and scientists selected from almost 3,000. Decisions are based on recommendations from hundreds of expert advisors and are approved by the Foundation's Board of Trustees, which includes six members who are themselves past Fellows of the Foundation. The Guggenheim Fellowship program considers applications in 78 different fields, from the natural sciences to the creative arts. The new Fellows include writers, playwrights, painters, sculptors, photographers, film makers, choreographers, physical and biological scientists, social scientists, and scholars in the humanities.


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