Alumni News, Awards and Honors, Faculty News

Abonado and Williams Receive NEA Creative Writing Fellowships

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced that Bennington Writing Seminars alum Albert Abonado MFA '10 and faculty member Phillip B. Williams will receive Creative Writing Fellowships of $25,000. 

NEA logo

Abonado and Williams are two of 35 Literature Fellows for fiscal year 2021. The National Endowment for the Arts will award a total of $1.2 million in FY 2021 Literature Fellowships to creative writers and translators. 

These fellowships are in poetry and enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Fellows are selected through a highly-competitive, anonymous process and are judged on the basis of artistic excellence of the work sample they provided. Abonado and Williams were selected from 1,601 eligible applicants. 

Albert Abonado teaches creative writing at SUNY Geneseo. In 2014, he received the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in poetry. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Apogee, Boston Review, Pleiades, The Literary Review, LIT, Waxwing, and others. He is also author of the e-chapbook This is Superbook.

Phillip B. Williams is a Chicago, IL native and author of Thief in the Interior, winner of the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a 2017 Lambda Literary award and finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature (Poetry). He received a 2017 Whiting Award, 2013 Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and a Kenyon Review Writers Workshop fellowship. Williams is the co-editor in chief of the online journal Vinyl. He was a visiting faculty member at Bennington for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years and joined as faculty in Fall 2018.

"This is a moment of reflection and recalibration, and the NEA grant puts greater freedom on perfecting that art of stillness," said Phillip B. Williams.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these 35 talented poets through Creative Writing Fellowships,” said Amy Stolls, director of literary arts at the Arts Endowment. “These fellowships often provide writers with crucial support and encouragement, and in return our nation is enriched by their artistic contributions in the years to come.”

Since 1967, the Arts Endowment has awarded more than 3,600 Creative Writing Fellowships totaling over $56 million. Many American recipients of the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction were recipients of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships early in their careers. The full list of 2021 Creative Writing Fellows is available online.

Visit the agency’s Creative Writing Fellowships webpage to read excerpts by and features on past recipients of Literature Fellowships for translation projects and Creative Writing Fellows. For more information on literature at the National Endowment for the Arts, go to