University of California, Riverside

UCR Newsroom

Guggenheim Award

UCR Author Wins Guggenheim Award

Christopher Abani, professor of creative writing, wins a prestigious fellowship for fiction.

(April 13, 2009)

Chris AbaniEnlarge

Chris Abani

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Christopher Abani, professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, has been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship for fiction for 2009. He is one of 14 University of California faculty members and other academic personnel to receive a Guggenheim fellowship this year.

Abani, an award-winning poet, novelist and playwright, said he was honored to receive the award.

“The Guggenheim is such a prestigious honor that I am a little lost for words,” Abani said. “It is always humbling when your work as a writer gets recognized, but when it is by an institution that has given the same award to artists, photographers, intellectuals and writers that I have been in awe of, it is a double honor. I am glad to receive this for me and for the University of California, Riverside, that has given me such a nurturing home.”

Charles Whitney, chair of the UCR Department of Creative Writing, said the honor was richly deserved.

“Abani is one of the brightest lights among young writers of fiction and poetry in the country, and the Guggenheim will allow him to travel in pursuit of his next novel,” Whitney said.

Abani has published five novels, three plays and four collections of poetry. Among his awards are: a Lannan Literary Fellowship; a PEN Beyond the Margins Award; a Lamada Award nomination; a Pushcart nomination for poetry; a New York Times Editor’s Choice award; a New York Libraries Books for Teens Selection award; and a PEN Hemingway Book Prize.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded fellowships this year to 180 artists, scholars and scientists from almost 3,600 applicants in the United States and Canada. Guggenheim fellows are appointed on the basis of stellar achievement and exceptional promise for continued accomplishment, according to the foundation. Since 1925, the foundation has granted more than $273 million in fellowships to nearly 16,700 individuals.



The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

Related Links