Columbia University in the City of New York

Alan Kanzer Writer-in-Residence

Above: Best-selling author Nicole Krauss (Credit: Goni Riskin).

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.

Author Nicole Krauss (To Be a Man, Forest Dark, The History of Love) joined Columbia's Zuckerman Institute in 2020 as the writer-in-residence. She became the inaugural Alan Kanzer Writer-in-Residence during her period of engagement, inspiration and discovery. She is particularly interested in exploring the concept of narrative and memory. Her award-winning novels have often centered on the intersection of the mind, memory, and behavior, and she is eager to delve deep into the scientific underpinnings of these processes. During her time at the Institute, she will forge informal and formal interactions with scientists at the Institute to explore the formation of memories, the role of narrative and the creative process.

She joins a number of other artists and musicians past and present at the Institute who have contributed to this intersection of creative pursuit and scientific knowledge. 

About Nicole Krauss

Nicole Krauss has been hailed by The New York Times as “one of America’s most important novelists.” She is the author of the international bestsellers, Forest Dark, Great House, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Orange Prize, and The History of Love, which won the Saroyan Prize for International Literature and France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, and was short-listed for the Orange, Médicis and Femina prizes. Her first novel, Man Walks Into a Room, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. In 2007, she was selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, and in 2010 she was chosen by The New Yorker for their “Twenty Under Forty” list. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, and Best American Short Stories, and her books have been translated into thirty-six languages. To Be a Man, her first collection of short stories, was published in November 2020, and was named one of Oprah Magazine's 20 Best Books of 2020 and Time Magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of 2020. Find out more at

Nicole Krauss' residency is hosted by Daphna Shohamy, PhD, professor of psychology and principial investigator at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute. If you have questions about the program or would like to meet with Ms. Krauss during her residency, please contact [email protected].

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. 


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Learning & Memory June 10, 2021

Novelist Nicole Krauss Explores 12 Questions with Brain Scientists

In conversation with Daphna Shohamy, PhD, a writer connects neuroscience to narrative.

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