Philip Gourevitch

Philip Gourevitch

Fellow: Awarded 2010

Field of Study: General Nonfiction

Competition: US & Canada

Educated at Cornell University (B.A., 1986) and Columbia University (M.F.A., 1992), Philip Gourevitch is the author of A Cold Case (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001) and The Ballad of Abu Ghraib (Penguin, 2008), as well as We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998), a project he will be revisiting during his Guggenheim Fellowship term. Each of his books has been translated into eight languages. In addition, in 2005 he succeeded George Plimpton as Editor of The Paris Review; during his tenure, the magazine won its first National Magazine Award in 2006.

An avid writer since his high school days, Mr. Gourevitch began working for the Forward newspaper on his graduation from Columbia, first as New York Bureau Chief and then as its Cultural Editor. During his time with the Forward, he won the first of many honors for his reportage, receiving the American Jewish Press Association’s Simon Rockover Award for Spot Reporting for his coverage of the riots in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He further developed that and other stories for national publication in such important magazines as Commentary, Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, and The Village Voice, which led to his full-time freelance writing career. He travelled to Siberia on assignment for Outside magazine to report on the endangered Amur tiger; to the South China Sea for Granta to follow up on the Vietnamese boat people two decades after the fall of Saigon; and in 1995 to Rwanda for a three-month’s assignment for The New Yorker, to detail the lives of its citizens after the genocide of the previous year.

That exposure to the people of Rwanda and their efforts to heal led not only to articles that earned two nominations for National Magazine Awards and citations from the Overseas Press Club but to We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, which earned a host of honors: the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the George K. Polk Award for Foreign Reporting, the PEN/Martha Algrand Award for First Nonfiction, the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Award, the Overseas Press Club’s Cornelius Ryan Award, and the London Guardian’s First Book Award. A decade later, he returned to Rwanda, again on assignment for The New Yorker, to see if the Hutus and Tutsis are truly reconciling and if President Paul Kagame can led that fractured country to a peaceful prosperity. And again, with the support of his Guggenheim Fellowship, he plans an extended stay in Rwanda to more fully explore the country’s continuing evolution through interviews with Rwandans in all social strata who had been on both sides of the conflict, examination of the international reaction during and after the genocide, and a recounting of how his investigations recalibrated his own political and moral compasses. The book he plans is tentatively titled You Hide that You Hate Me and I Hide that I Know: Survival in Rwanda.

In addition to his reportage and nonfiction, Mr. Gourevitch also writes short stories that have been anthologized many times and performed live on the BBC, NPR, and at the Moth in New York City. He has been an invited lecturer at many prestigious universities and institutions in the United States and abroad, and he taught writing at Columbia University and Baruch College, and at Deep Springs College in California.