NewsFeb 13, 2020

Hester Kaplan receives $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship

MFA in Creative Writing faculty to write biography of Pulitzer Prize-winning father

Hester Kaplan headshot
With her $25,000 fellowship, Hester Kaplan will work on a biography of her father, who was also a writer.

Hester Kaplan is the recipient of a $25,000 Creative Writing Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kaplan, who teaches in our creative writing master’s program, was one of 36 fiction and creative nonfiction writers chosen to receive the fellowship, which alternates between poetry and prose each year. The National Endowment for the Arts received almost 1,700 applications, which were reviewed anonymously. Past recipients include Louise Erdrich, Anthony Doerr and Jennifer Egan.

“My NEA fellowship is a gift of time and support, and a vote of confidence in my project,” says Kaplan. “On a broader level, awards like this represent our country's ongoing commitment to the arts.”

Kaplan is the author of four books, including “The Tell” and “The Edge of Marriage,” winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her stories and nonfiction essays have also been featured in publications such as The Best American Short Stories series, Agni and Ploughshares.

With the fellowship, Kaplan will continue work on her next book — a biography of her father, Justin Kaplan, who won a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for his biography of Mark Twain.

“This is a daughter's biography of a biographer-father, as much about family dynamics and life in Cambridge in the ’60s and ’70s, as it is about how we write and read the stories we tell about ourselves,” she says.