Professor Christina Sharpe named 2024 Guggenheim Fellow

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The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded its prestigious fellowship to Christina Sharpe, a professor in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Department of Humanities.

Christina Sharpe close-up portrait
Christina Sharpe

The Guggenheim Foundation is a beacon of excellence in supporting scholars, artists, and researchers in their endeavours to push the boundaries of knowledge and creativity. This year, 188 culture creators working across 52 disciplines were named Guggenheim Fellows, selected on the basis of prior career achievement and exceptional promise, and rewarded with both recognition and monetary prizes.

This honour is a testament to Sharpe’s contributions to the field of Black studies and her innovative approach to research and writing. Her trailblazing work has resonated with scholars and readers alike, shedding light on important issues related to what she calls the “ordinary extraordinary matter of Black life.”

“As a member of our faculty, we are truly delighted and honoured to witness her exceptional achievements,” says J.J. McMurtry, dean of LA&PS. “She is not simply being acknowledged for her outstanding contributions but is being rightly celebrated on a global scale. Her outstanding success serves as a source of inspiration and pride for our entire academic community, highlighting the calibre of talent and dedication that thrives within our Faculty.”

Sharpe’s recent works have garnered significant acclaim, with her book Ordinary Notes (Penguin Random House Canada, 2023) earning her the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Nonfiction and being selected as a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction. Ordinary Notes was further recognized as a best book of the year by esteemed publications such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, NPR, New York Magazine and literary magazine Granta. This month, Sharpe was also awarded a Windham-Campbell Prize for nonfiction.

Beyond the many recent accolades, Sharpe remains immersed in her upcoming projects – What Could a Vessel Be? and Black. Still. Life. – showcasing her ongoing commitment to exploring and engaging with important themes through her writing.

“I am very glad for the support of the Guggenheim Foundation toward completing What Could a Vessel Be? and to be among so many writers, artists and thinkers whose work I respect,” says Sharpe.