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Writer; Professor, New York

Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow in Fiction - Class of Fall 2020


Ayana Mathis received her MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she subsequently became the first African American woman to hold the position of Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing. She has taught in the MFA writing programs at Columbia University and Rutgers University at Newark. Mathis’s first novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Knopf, 2012), was a New York Times Bestseller, a 2013 New York Times Notable Book, NPR Best Book of 2013, and second selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0; it was also long-listed for the Dublin Literary Award and nominated for Hurston/Wright Foundation’s Legacy Award. Mathis’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times, Financial Times, Glamour, and Guernica and has been supported by the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Bogliasco Foundation, and a Michener Copernicus Fellowship.

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