Fellowship / Fellows

Alison C. Rollins

  • 2023–2024
  • Fiction & Poetry
  • Mary I. Bunting Institute Fellow
  • Independent Writer
Portrait of Alison C. Rollins
Photo by Kevin Grady/Harvard Radcliffe Institute

Alison C. Rollins’s debut poetry collection, Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), was named a 2020 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominee. Rollins draws from various literary and art-making practices—including sonics, sculpture, metalwork, and video—in attempts to ethically engage in resuscitation of the archive. Her work celebrates the Black American experience and the ways in which cataloging, technology, and identities are inextricably entangled. Ultimately, Rollins seeks to continuously explore the fragile line between human and nonhuman beings.

At Radcliffe, Rollins is completing her second poetry collection, titled “Black Bell,” and a nonfiction essay collection of biomythology, titled “Outdoors.” She will also develop a series of performance art pieces in conversation with Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time and historical examples of Black fugitivity such as Henry Box Brown and Lear Green, figures who, hidden in crates, shipped themselves from slaveholding states to free states. Thinking through frequencies of freedom and sounds of survival, Rollins will construct “soundsuits,” or body armor, to meditate on the landscape of the Black body as both invisible and exposed, inside and outdoors. 

Rollins holds an MFA from Brown University and an MSLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The winner of a 2018 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a 2020 Pushcart Prize, and the 2021 Gulf Coast Prize in nonfiction, she has previously been awarded support from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and was named a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow.

Our 2023–2024 Fellows

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