Fellow: Awarded 2016
Field of Study: General Nonfiction
Competition: US & Canada
Amanda Petrusich is the author of three books about music: Pink Moon, an installment in Continuum/Bloomsbury’s acclaimed 33 1/3 series (2007), It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music (Faber & Faber; 2008), and Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records (Scribner; 2014), an in-depth exploration of the rarefied world of obsessive collectors of 78rpm discs and the historic recordings being excavated and preserved by this oddball community.
Do Not Sell At Any Price was praised by the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Denver Post, Entertainment Weekly, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, featured on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” “Marketplace,” and “Soundcheck,” and named one of the best nonfiction books of 2014 by Slate, NPR, and BuzzFeed. The critic and author Baynard Woods, writing in the Baltimore City Paper, said, “With Do Not Sell at Any Price, we have an astounding new writer not of musical criticism but of longform narrative prose. When Petrusich writes about music, she is akin to Keats writing about a Greek vase: She is telling us what it means to be human beings adrift in time.”
Petrusich’s reporting and criticism have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Pitchfork, Spin, and The Oxford American, where she’s presently a contributing editor. She has written about the ancient musical traditions of northern Greece, a long-lost accordion virtuoso from Louisiana, the 1959 discovery of the banjo player Roscoe Holcomb, and the evolution of Bruce Springsteen, among other topics.
In 2016, she was named one of the 100 most influential people in Brooklyn culture by Brooklyn Magazine. She has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Humanities and the MacDowell Colony. As an assistant professor in the writing program at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, she teaches advanced courses on criticism and musical subcultures. Her Guggenheim fellowship will support new work on a collection of essays based loosely on the idea of epiphany.
Photograph credit: Joanna Eldredge Morrissey