Jamaican Professor Kwame Dawes has been awarded the 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship for Poetry. One of the most prestigious fellowships in the world, it was established in 1925 and intended for men and women who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship and exceptional creativity in the arts. The foundation receives between 3,500 and 4,000 applications per year and awards approximately 200.
Dawes said: "I have long regarded the Guggenheim Fellowship as a clear indication of the quality and significance of the work of American artists and artists from around the world. This is a generous award and a tremendous honour. I am grateful to all those writers who wrote in support of this award. My family and I are thrilled."
The Guggenheim award comes on heels of Dawes being presented with the Barnes and Noble 2012 Writers for Writers Award last month and an Emmy Award in 2009. As a proud son of the soil, his 2004 Silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica holds special significance, as his late father Neville Dawes was a director of the institute.
A reception for the 2012 Fellows of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation will take place in New York City on May 9.
Dawes is editor of the acclaimed literary journal Prairie Schooner and the chancellor's professor of English at the University of Nebraska.
Dawe's numerous books include the novel She's Gone, musical biography Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius and the memoir A Far Cry from Plymouth Rock. Wheels (2011) is the latest of his 16 volumes of poetry. Dawes is also the editor of many other volumes such as the poetry anthologies So Much Things to Say and Jubilation!. Dawes founded the Calabash International Literary Festival Trust in 2001 along with Colin Channer and Justine Henzell.