UMass Boston

Professor Fulton Receives National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship

02/08/2024| DeWayne Lehman

English Professor and Director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program John Fulton has been selected by the National Endowment for the Arts as one of 35 writers to receive an FY 2024 Creative Writing Fellowship of $25,000. This year’s fellowships are in fiction and creative nonfiction and enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career development.

Fellows are selected through an anonymous review process and are judged on artistic excellence of the work sample they provided. These fellowships are highly competitive, with more than 2,100 eligible applications received for FY 2024.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to continue its longstanding investment in our nation’s writers,” NEA Director of Literary Arts Amy Stolls said. “It is through their creativity and dedication that our nation’s literary landscape continues to be enriched with stories, perspectives, and ideas that reflect the rich diversity of cultures and strengthens our democracy.”

Professor Fulton is the author most recently of The Flounder and Other Stories, a Poets & Writers Page One New and Noteworthy Book selection, which earned him the award. He is also the author of three other books of fiction: The Animal Girl, which was long listed for the Story Prize; Retribution, which won the Southern Review Fiction Prize; and the novel More Than Enough, a Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers selection.

"As a writer, I'm used to long hours alone at the desk. I'm always wondering how readers will feel about my work and what they'll make of it,” Fulton said. “Of course, it's great when an editor likes your work enough to publish it or when your work wins an award. But this particular fellowship is especially meaningful because those who make the decisions have won it in the past, which means that a very accomplished committee of writers is reading your work. That offers a huge boost of encouragement and will go a long way in giving me the confidence and motivation I need to finish my next book."

The Flounder and Other Stories was published in the summer of 2023. In his personal statement on the NEA website, Fulton describes how the stories in The Flounder  "deal with material in my own life that comes from being an expatriate several decades ago, from experiencing disappointment, and growing older. What does it mean to be American? What makes a life valuable and worth living? How does life and what matters to us change as we age? How do we acknowledge failures and shortcomings and nonetheless move forward? These same questions are showing up in the work I’m undertaking now for my next book."

Fulton’s short fiction has been awarded the Pushcart Prize, cited twice for distinction in The Best American Short Stories, and been published in Zoetrope, The Sun, Ploughshares, and The Missouri Review, among other venues.

Since 1967, the NEA has awarded more than 3,700 Creative Writing Fellowships totaling over $58 million. Many American recipients of the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction were recipients of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships early in their careers.