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Prof. Peter Rock Wins Guggenheim

By Robin Tovey '97 on May 13, 2014 12:00 PM

Reed College

SPELLBOUND. Creative writing prof Pete Rock wins Guggenheim to write a "fragmentary novel" titled Spells.

Peter Rock, professor of creative writing, has won a Guggenheim Fellowship to support work on his latest project, Spells. Known for the creative freedom they facilitate, Guggenheim awards are granted upon the basis of impressive achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

Spells is a fragmentary novel done in collaboration with five photographers. The idea came to Prof. Rock years ago while he was working as a security guard in an art museum. To pass the time, he would invent stories inspired by the artwork he was guarding. Examples of this project are found on his website.

Rock, who has taught creative writing in the English department at Reed since 2001, is the author of six novels, most recently The Shelter Cycle and My Abandonment, and a collection of stories, The Unsettling. His books have been translated into several languages, and his stories have appeared in magazines such as Zoetrope: All-Story, Tin House, Epoch, and Ploughshares; they have been anthologized widely. He attended Deep Springs College, received a BA in English from Yale University, and held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. 

“Rock is an exemplary professor, an innovative and dedicated teacher, and an innovative and dedicated novelist,” says Prof. Nigel Nicholson, dean of the faculty.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has annually offered fellowships to artists, scholars, and scientists in all fields, since 1925. Since 1947, 20 faculty members, including Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, religion [2002- ], and David H. Sacks, history [1986- ] as well as 82 alumni of the college have received Guggenheim fellowships, including poet Gary Snyder ’51, writer Barbara Ehrenreich ’63, playwright Anne Washburn ’91, new-media artist Igor Vamos ’90, who will be speaking at commencement on May 19, and biologist Pam Ronald '82, who will be speaking at Reunions on June 5.