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Second NMSU English professor awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

  • By Minerva Baumann and Isabel C. Darancou
  • mbauma46@nmsu.edu
  • idaran@nmsu.edu
  • Apr 29, 2022
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Brandon Hobson, New Mexico State University English assistant professor in creative writing, was awarded a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Nearly 2,500 people applied this year and 180 were selected.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was created in 1925 by U.S. Sen. Simon Guggenheim and Olga Guggenheim in memory of their son, John Simon Guggenheim. The Foundation offers fellowships to individuals who exceed in scholarship as artists, writers, scientists, historians and scholars in a variety of disciplines to assist them in furthering their work.

According to the website, “51 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 81 different academic institutions, 31 states and the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of fellows, who range in age from 33 to 75.”

Hobson is among only 10 people awarded a fellowship in the fiction category this year. Twenty-five of the 180 fellowships were given to fiction writers, non-fiction writers and poets. Last year, poet Connie Voisine, NMSU English professor and creative writing program director, received the award.

“The fact that Dr. Voisine and Dr. Hobson both won this award demonstrates the high caliber of work produced by our faculty,” said Enrico Pontelli, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Dr. Hobson was a finalist for a National Book Award but the Guggenheim Fellowship recognizes not only prior achievement but future potential. It allows the award recipient to take time to focus on developing their research and writing, which also benefits the university and our students.” 

“It's an enormous honor and benefit to be able to take some space for myself and my work,” Hobson said.

Hobson’s Guggenheim Fellowship will allow him to continue working on his next novel. His last two novels focused on Native American culture and issues. His next novel also will delve into that realm.

“All I can say about it right now is that it partly takes place in a juvenile corrections facility,” Hobson said. “There is this feeling more now than ever before that Native stories need to be told. It’s why I continue to champion Native voices.”

Hobson was born and raised in Oklahoma and is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated with his Ph.D. in creative writing from Oklahoma State University. Hobson moved to Las Cruces in 2019 to teach at NMSU.

The author of four books, Hobson’s most recent novels are “The Removed,” published last year, and “Where the Dead Sit Talking,” published in 2018. Both focus on issues from a Native American perspective. 

“Where the Dead Sit Talking” was a finalist for the National Book Award, a finalist for the St. Francis Literary Award, and winner of the Reading the West Award. Set in rural Oklahoma during the late 1980s, it is a Native American coming-of-age story focused on two protagonists who bond over their experiences in the foster care system. A “New York Times” reviewer wrote “Hobson's tale reverberates with the hope of connection as it explores Native displacement and loss.”

Hobson’s most recent novel “The Removed,” centers on the Echota family coming to terms with the death of their teenage son, killed in a police shooting. Reviewing “The Removed,” a “Los Angeles Times” reviewer observed Hobson had “carved a striking new benchmark for fiction about Native Americans.”

Among his other accolades, Hobson has a Pushcart Prize for fiction and his work has appeared in the Best American Short Stories 2021 and many other publications.

Names of the 2022 fellows are listed on the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation website at: https://www.gf.org

To learn more about Hobson’s books and other work, visit https://brandonhobson.com 

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