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Reed College Professor of creating writing Peter Rock Wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Reed College professor of creative writing Peter Rock has won a Guggenheim Fellowship to support work on his latest project, Spells. Guggenheim fellows are appointed on the basis of impressive achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. Fellowships are intended to provide time and funding for fellows to work with as much creative freedom as possible.

Spells is a fragmentary novel done in collaboration with five photographers. The completed project may take the form of a book or a gallery or online exhibition. The idea came to 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.

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

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has annually offered fellowships to artists, scholars, and scientists in all fields, since 1925. Its mission is to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding and the appreciation of beauty, by aiding without distinction on account of race, color, scholars, scientists, and artists of either sex in the prosecution of their labors.

Since 1947, 61 Reed College graduates have received Guggenheim fellowships, including poet Gary Snyder, writer Barbara Ehrenreich, playwright Anne Washburn, and new-media artist Igor Vamos.