University at Albany, State University of New York
Contact UAlbany Directories Calendars & Schedules Visitors Site Index Search
Admissions Academics Research IT Services Libraries Athletics



News Release


UAlbany's Lydia Davis Named MacArthur 2003 Fellow

Contact: Lisa James-Goldsberry (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 7, 2003) -- Lydia Davis, an acclaimed fiction writer and associate professor/Writer-in-Residence in the English Department at the University at Albany, has been named one of 24 new MacArthur Fellow for 2003 by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Each fellow receives $500,000 in "no strings attached" support over the next five years.

Davis is well known in literary circles for her extremely short and brilliantly inventive short stories. Her newest collection, "Samuel Johnson is Indignant" (2002) is a book of 56 short, sharp meditations on life, language, and such miscellaneous topics as lawns, funeral homes and jury duty. Her previous works include "Almost No Memory" (stories, 1998), "The End of the Story" (novel, 1995) and "Break It Down" (stories, 1986).

"The University at Albany is extremely delighted by the selection of Lydia Davis as a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. This honor gives stature to the University, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the renowned Writers Institute," said Carlos E. Santiago, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at UAlbany. "Her accomplishments are certainly deserving of this award and the fellowship will undoubtedly allow her the opportunity to continue her high quality and pathbreaking literary work."

Davis is also a Fellow of the New York State Writers Institute at UAlbany, which is headed by former MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer-prize winning author William Kennedy. He used part of his award to start the Writers Institute. In her new position as a Writers Institute Fellow, Davis will advise the institute's directors on programming for the visiting writers series and other literary projects.

In addition, Davis is also a celebrated translator of French literature into English. The French government named her a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for her distinguished translations of works by Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve and others. This year, she published a new translation (the first in more than 80 years) of Marcel Proust's masterpiece "Swann's Way." Davis earned her B.A. from Barnard College.

The MacArthur Fellows Program is designed to emphasize the importance of the creative individual in society. Fellows are selected for the originality and creativity of their work and the potential to do more in the future. "The fellowship offers highly creative people the gift of time and the unfettered opportunity to explore, create, and accomplish," said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation.

This year is one of particular significance for the foundation, marking its 25th year of grantmaking. As one of the nation's largest private philanthropic foundations, MacArthur has awarded more than $3 billion in grants since it began in 1978. Other 2003 recipients include a blacksmith, a biomedical engineer and a gerontological nurse.


Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges. The University is engaged in a $500 million fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in its history, with the goal of placing it among the nation's top 30 public research universities by the end of the decade. For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit

News Releases  News & Information  |  Top

University at Albany Home Page

Contact UAlbany | Directories | Calendars | Visitors | Site Index | Search
Admissions | Academics | Research | IT Services | Libraries | Athletics