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MacDowell Colony announces diversity fellowship

MacDowell Colony announces diversity fellowship
Writer Michael Chabon, the MacDowell Colony's chairman, announced a new literary fellowship designed to celebrate diverse voices. (David Butow / For The Times)

The MacDowell Colony's chairman, Michael Chabon, announced a new literary fellowship Monday night designated to bring diverse voices to the artists' retreat.

The new Charlotte Sheedy Fellowship is designated for writers "representing populations across racial and cultural boundaries." It is named for literary agent Charlotte Sheedy, whose clients included Audre Lorde and Marilyn French.

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Located in Peterborough, N.H., the MacDowell Colony has been hosting artists, performers and writers since 1907. At any given time, more than two dozen residents are working independently in their own fields during the day, coming together at night for dinner and conversation. Residencies last from two weeks to two months.

In a statement, Chabon explained: "Isolation, indifference, and lack of opportunity are the common lot of artists everywhere, but for an artist marginalized by cultural difference, as Charlotte Sheedy has always known, those effects are trebled by an inheritance of cruelty and injustice. They are intensified by mechanisms of discrimination both covert and plain as day. For these artists the struggle to make art takes a deeper toll and can lead to deeper despair."

The fellowship was created by a $200,000 anonymous gift.

"The MacDowell Colony has always been, and will always fight to remain, an enemy of that despair, and of the indifference, isolation, and injustice that array themselves against so many working artists," Chabon continued. "This amazing gift, honoring a remarkable woman who has long been a staunch advocate for and nurturer of writers, will allow MacDowell to fight harder, and hopefully to lasting effect, on behalf of those whose struggle has been so long, hard, and wearying."

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