Columbia University in the City of New York

Alan Kanzer Writer-in-Residence

Above: Hernan Diaz

An exploration of science through narrative and storytelling

The Alan Kanzer Writer-in-Residence program engages writers and scientists at the intersection of narrative and neuroscience. The residency gives one writer per year time and support for creative pursuit, forges formal and informal interactions with scientists, and promotes engagement across the Institute and the surrounding community. By the end of the residency, the writer, the scientists, and members of the wider community benefit from access to new knowledge and perspectives from these cross-disciplinary activities.


About Hernan Diaz


Hernan Diaz is the Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Trust. Translated into more than thirty languages, Trust also received the Kirkus Prize, was longlisted for the Booker Prize, and was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and Time magazine, and it was one of The New Yorker’s 12 Essential Reads of the Year and one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of the year. Trust is currently being developed as a limited series for HBO. Diaz’s previous novel, In the Distance, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and it won the William Saroyan International Prize. It was also a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book of the Year and one of Lit Hub’s 20 Best Novels of the Decade. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Granta, The Atlantic, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, and
elsewhere. He edits an academic journal at Columbia University and is also the author of Borges, between History and Eternity.

Diaz has received the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, given to “a writer whose contributions to American literature have demonstrated consistent
excellence,” a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a fellowship from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.


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Hernan Diaz's residency is hosted by Daphna Shohamy, PhD, Kavli Professor of Brain Science, PI and Co-director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science, and CEO and director of Columbia's Zuckerman Institute. 


This program is made possible with the generous support of Alan Kanzer. Columbia University's School of the Arts and Zuckerman Institute are grateful to Mr. Kanzer for his generosity and commitment to fostering interactions between the arts and neuroscience. The previous, inaugural Alan Kanzer Writer-in-Residence was best-selling author Nicole Krauss (To Be a Man, Forest Dark, The History of Love), who delved deep into the scientific underpinnings of mind, memory and behavior during her 2020-21 residency.

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