Two Stanford University scholars have been awarded 2024 Guggenheim Fellowships. This prestigious honor recognizes mid-career scholars, artists, and scientists who have “demonstrated a previous capacity for outstanding work and continue to show exceptional promise.”

This year’s fellows from Stanford are Kirstin Valdez Quade and amara tabor-smith.

Kirstin Valdez Quade (Image credit: Holly Andres)

Kirstin Valdez Quade was awarded a fellowship for fiction.

Valdez Quade is an author and associate professor of English in the School of Humanities and Sciences, where she teaches fiction in the Creative Writing Program. Valdez Quade joined Stanford in July 2023 after earning her BA in English from Stanford in 2002. She was also a Wallace Stegner Fellow from 2009 to 2011 and a Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing from 2011 to 2014.

Valdez Quade was born in New Mexico and her home state’s desert landscape and long Hispanic Catholic roots are reflected in her work, which explores religious ritual, faith, and redemption. Her publications include a short story collection, Night at the Fiestas (W. W. Norton, 2015) and a novel, The Five Wounds (W. W. Norton, 2021). These works garnered critical acclaim, earning awards including the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, and the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle. Her work has also been published in The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Short Stories, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Guggenheim Foundation for this support and especially for the faith in my work,” Valdez Quade said.

anna tabor-smith (Image credit: Jean Melesaine)

amara tabor-smith was awarded a fellowship for choreography.

Since 2017, tabor-smith has been artist-in-residence in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies in the School of Humanities and Sciences and the Institute for Diversity in the Arts. She is also the artistic director of the Committee on Black Performing Arts.

tabor-smith is an Oakland-based choreographer/performance maker who describes her work as Afro Futurist Conjure Art. Her dance-making practice utilizes Yoruba spiritual rituals to address social and environmental justice issues, race, gender identity, and belonging. She is the artistic director of Deep Waters Dance Theater and was the co-artistic director of Headmistress, an ongoing performing collaboration with movement artist Sherwood Chen.

“I am so deeply humbled and grateful to have my creative research and practice supported through this fellowship alongside such an incredible group of artists, writers, scientists, and scholars,” tabor-smith said. “It comes at such a critical juncture for my creative practice as I move in new directions and uncharted territory with my latest project and research.”

tabor-smith plans to use the fellowship to support research and travel to gather origin stories and myths from cultural keepers throughout the United States, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Brazil. She will study the grassroots efforts in these communities to address climate catastrophe and also use the time the fellowship affords to converse with climate scientists and scholars of Earth systems on the Stanford campus.