Two From Barnard Win Rome Prize

By Tom Stoelker


Rome Prize Winners

This past spring, two members of the Barnard community were among the 36 American artists and scholars awarded the 2023-24 Rome Prize bestowed by the American Academy in Rome.

Elif Batuman (above, left), adjunct associate professor of English, was recognized with the John Guare Writers Fund Rome Prize in literature for her entry, “CAMINO REAL/THE SELIN NOVELS.” “Selin” refers to Selin Karadağ — the protagonist of Batuman’s The Idiot, a Pulitzer Prize nominee in 2018, and its sequel, Either/Or, published last year. The books follow fragments of Selin’s life from dips in Walden Pond to S&M parties in what The Atlantic calls “Batuman’s curious experiment in fiction.”

Mary Danisi ’17 (above, right), a Ph.D. student at Cornell University, received the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Rome Prize in ancient studies for her entry “Rovings: Wool and the Ancient Ecology of a Cosmic Medium.” Her primary area of research addresses the materiality and aesthetics of ancient ritual practices. Her dissertation, “Weaving the Cosmos: Fillets and the Fabrication of the Sacred in Ancient Greece,” presents the first comprehensive analysis of the craft and function of handwoven bands in Greek cult, from the Archaic through Hellenistic periods.

Awardees of the Rome Prize receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board at the Academy’s 11-acre campus in Rome. The Arthur and Janet C. Ross Rome Prize Ceremony was held in the Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York on April 24. The CEO of the American Academy in Rome, Mark Robbins, praised Batuman and the other recipients, saying, “This class of Rome Prize winners once again includes some of America’s most gifted scholars and artists.” —Tom Stoelker

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