John Fulton

John Fulton

Photo by Jennifer Waddell


John Fulton is the author most recently of The Flounder and Other Stories, a Poets & Writers Page One New and Noteworthy Book selection, and three other books of fiction: The Animal Girl, which was long listed for the Story Prize; Retribution, which won the Southern Review Fiction Prize; and the novel More Than Enough, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. His short fiction has been awarded the Pushcart Prize, cited twice for distinction in The Best American Short Stories, and been published in Zoetrope, the Sun, Ploughshares, and the Missouri Review, among other venues. He has received fellowships from the New York Writers Institute, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs. He lives with his family in Boston, where he is currently the director of the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

As every writer knows, life at the desk can get lonely and fraught with uncertainty. We often don’t know when our work is good and whether it moves and interests others. This fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts not only gives me much needed affirmation and confidence, but also a sense that my work has meaning and has been recognized by a group of my peers. I’d go further and say that the NEA not only affirms the work of individual writers but literature and the arts in our culture. I’m hugely thankful for that, both as an individual artist and as a citizen of this country.

My most recent book, The Flounder and Other Stories, deals with material in my own life that comes from being an expatriate several decades ago, from experiencing disappointment, and growing older. What does it mean to be American? What makes a life valuable and worth living? How does life and what matters to us change as we age? How do we acknowledge failures and shortcomings and nonetheless move forward? These same questions are showing up in the work I’m undertaking now for my next book. A new project is always intimidating. I feel as if I’m starting over and writing that first, most difficult book again. This recognition and financial support from the NEA will allow me to find time, focus, and resolve to keep writing. I couldn’t be more excited and grateful for this opportunity.