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Writer and Filmmaker

American Academy Distinguished Visitor - Class of Fall 2001

Susan Sontag was one of America’s best known and most admired writers and social critics. Her four novels, The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover, and In America, have been translated in 26 different languages and have won various prestigious awards. She has also published a collection of stories, I, etcetera; several plays, including Alice in Bed; and five books of essays, among them On Photography, which won the National Book Critics Circle Prize for Criticism. In addition to writing novels and essays, she also wrote and directed four feature-length films.


Sontag was also known for her political activism: writing about and traveling to areas of conflict including during the Vietnam War and the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about culture and media, photography, AIDS and illness, human rights, and leftist ideologies.


Sontag received a 1990 MacArthur Foundation fellowship, and, in 2001, the Jerusalem Prize for her body of work.

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