Douglas Kearney Awarded McKnight Fellowship and Librettist Prize

Associate professor wins inaugural national and University-wide honors
Close up color head and shoulders photo of Associate Professor Douglas Kearney, with maroon background around edges of photo

Douglas Kearney was awarded a McKnight Presidential Fellowship (2021-2022 to 2023-2024), an honor recognizing the most promising University of Minnesota faculty members who have been granted tenure and promotion to associate professor in an academic year. Of this year's eight fellows, Kearney is the lone representative from the liberal arts. Warm congratulations!

In addition, Professor Kearney was honored in May as the inaugural recipient of the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize, from OPERA America. Conceived and funded by librettist Mark Campbell, the Prize is the first award in American opera that specifically recognizes the work of the opera librettist. Kearney will receive a $7,000 award to support his creative and career development. He co-wrote the libretto of Sweet Land, produced by The Industry in 2020 to rave reviews in NYT, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker. His latest, Comet/Poppea, written with composer George Lewis and commissioned by American Modern Opera Company, will premiere in 2023.

Also a poet and essayist, Professor Kearney teaches in the Creative Writing Program. This spring he published his seventh book, the poetry collection Sho (Wave Books); he also released Fodder (Fonograf Editions), a live album collaboration with composer, drummer and turntablist Val Jeanty. Kearney's last poetry collection, Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, and the California Book Award's silver medal in poetry. His essay collection Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015) was a Small Press Distribution handpicked selection. His honors include the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly award, a Whiting Award, and residencies and fellowships from Cave Canem, the Rauschenberg Foundation, and others.

Professor Kearney talks about his creative work with the College of Liberal Arts.

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