A native of San Francisco, Gretchen E. Henderson is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT and metaLAB Fellow at Harvard. She writes across genres and the arts to invigorate her critical and creative practices. Gretchen’s books include a novel, Galerie de Difformité (&NOW Books, winner of the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Prize, also a Nobbie Best Book of 2011), a critical volume about literary appropriations of music and silence, On Marvellous Things Heard (Green Lantern Press), and a poetry chapbook engaging cartographic history, Wreckage: By Land & By Sea (Dancing Girl Press). Her just-released second novel, The House Enters the Street (Starcherone Books) was the runner-up for the AWP Award Series in the Novel. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid writings have been published in a number of journals and anthologies, including The Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, Ploughshares, Journal of Artists’ Books, The &NOW Awards: The Best Innovative Writing, and a number of other publications.
Gretchen’s work has been heavily influenced by residencies at artist colonies (most recently the Millay Colony), by collaborative practice, by cross-disciplinary inquiries, and by teaching at a number of colleges. At MIT, she is teaching courses on “Creative Writing and Visual Culture: Writing in the Museum” and “Creative Writing: (un)Writing the Book.” Working at the intersection of literature, art history, book history, museum studies, disability studies, and music, her research explores aesthetics of deformity, museology as narrative strategy, poetics of (dis)embodiment / (in)accessibility / author(ity), literary appropriations of music, and the body of the book. She holds degrees from Princeton University (BA, summa cum laude), Columbia University (MFA), and the University of Missouri (PhD), as well as a Preparatory Certificate in Voice from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Gretchen lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and their shepherd mutt. Among other projects, she is working on a book, Ugliness: A Cultural History (for Reaktion Books), while continuing the collaborative deformation of her Galerie de Difformité (participation invited at: difformite.wordpress.com). Additionally this year, she is a Mary Catherine Mooney Fellow at the Boston Athenaeum. She remains an Affiliated Scholar at Kenyon College and, in June 2013, will teach a week-long workshop on “The Literary Hybrid” (with the book artist, Ellen Sheffield) at the Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop. She’ll also soon be curating an interview series on “People of the Book” for the literary journal, Ploughshares (stay tuned). A fifth-generation Californian, her future lies in Santa Cruz.