(image of Bulawayo, c/o Mail & Guardian)
Last summer, I found myself in Bloomington, Indiana, with my corgi Phineas. I was attending a National Endowment for the Humanities seminar on African urban spaces. We two, and Katie Rhine, lazed in McCormick Creek north of town, talking about travel and ethnography and cultural immersion. She gushed about her Fulbright to Nigeria -- she was able to see so much of the country, do really hands-on work, feel supported throughout.
All I knew about the Fulbright I'd learned from a Paul Simon song: "Aren't you the woman who was recently given a Fulbright?" [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc6dQPFKh28]
But Katie worked me over: a Fulbright was not the sort of thing you got the first time you applied anyway, so it was a numbers game: start throwing projects out there until one sticks, and your persistence will eventually pay off. This makes perfect sense to me, and so I mulled it over. And vaguely forgot about it, but managed to put together a proposal just before the deadline, and congratulated myself on my self-discipline.
I was able to shelve thinking about the Fulbright indefinitely after, wrapping myself up in my teaching and research projects, hammering out articles and edits, designing Lemonade Week and liasing with The Bridge Chattanooga. My Fulbright application was a bemusingly ambitious wild shot. So when the reader for the SubSaharan African section contacted me for edits and clarifications on my proposal, I thought: well, this is what I signed up for! Getting feedback, learning grant applications. I made the changes and passed them back, and quickly forgot it.
But March brought even more earthshaking news of getting the award, and the past few months have been a whirlwind of list-making, last minute research, paperwork, and preparation. In less than two months, I'm scheduled to fly from the US to Zimbabwe, to Harare, and then on to Bulawayo. What a lark! What a plunge! So begins an unexpected adventure, a boon and blessing -- stay tuned for updates.
Fulbright Core Teaching/Research Fellowship to Zimbabwe, 2017-2018. Will teach at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and conduct research on the city's literary history, its cultural infrastructure, and its outlets for creative writing.