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UCLan academic receives global fellowship

09 May 2014

Rachel Atkinson

Professor Will Kaufman is named as the 2014 recipient of the Woody Guthrie Fellowship

An esteemed University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) academic has been awarded a prestigious international fellowship.

Professor Will Kaufman has been named the winner of the ninth annual Woody Guthrie Fellowship. The programme funds research fellowships for scholars to use the rich and extensive archival holdings available at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Professor of American Literature and Culture, based in UCLan’s School of Language, Literature and International Studies, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be the named as the 2014 recipient of the Woody Guthrie Fellowship.

“This is truly a great honour for me. I’ve been researching Woody Guthrie for many years now but there’s still plenty more to discover. I can’t wait to get back to the Woody Guthrie Archives and start my research.”

His celebrated political biography, Woody Guthrie, American Radical (2011) was written on the strength of a 2008 BMI Foundation Woody Guthrie Fellowship. Professor Kaufman has published extensively on Guthrie, as well as other aspects of American culture, and has performed his live musical documentaries at hundreds of public venues on both sides of the Atlantic including Glastonbury Festival, the Bath International Music Festival and the Piacenza Literature and Blues Festival in Italy.

“This is truly a great honour for me. I’ve been researching Woody Guthrie for many years now but there’s still plenty more to discover. I can’t wait to get back to the Woody Guthrie Archives and start my research.”

His celebrated political biography, Woody Guthrie, American Radical (2011) was written on the strength of a 2008 BMI Foundation Woody Guthrie Fellowship. Professor Kaufman has published extensively on Guthrie, as well as other aspects of American culture, and has performed his live musical documentaries at hundreds of public venues on both sides of the Atlantic including Glastonbury Festival, the Bath International Music Festival and the Piacenza Literature and Blues Festival in Italy.

Most recently he was consultant to Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp for the publication of their co-edited edition of Guthrie's recently discovered novel, House of Earth (2013). Kaufman’s new project, Woody Guthrie, American Modernist, examines Guthrie’s relation to American modernism.

The news was announced last week by Deirdre Chadwick, President of the BMI Foundation, Deana McCloud, Executive Director of the Woody Guthrie Center, and Nora Guthrie, President of the Woody Guthrie Foundation.

The Woody Guthrie Center seeks to preserve and communicate the social, political, and cultural values that Woody Guthrie contributed to the world through his life, his music, and his work. Housed within the Centre, the Woody Guthrie Archives is a paper-based research repository providing support to scholars exploring the many facets of Woody Guthrie’s life, legacy, and contribution to American and world culture. Originally opened in New York City in 1996, the Archives holds over 15,000 items – the largest collection of Woody Guthrie material in the world – and includes Guthrie’s original song lyrics, notebooks and diaries, manuscripts, photographs, correspondences, personal papers, scrapbooks, artwork, and audio recordings.