September, 2021

Today, we welcome 15 Class of 2022 National Fellows to New America. This Class of National Fellows includes writers, scholars, and podcasters who are dedicated to enhancing conversations around the most pressing issues of our time.

Meet the the Class of 2022 and follow them on Twitter here.

Since last September, the Class of 2021 has had a remarkable year. They published and produced work that will shape our understanding of a number of pressing issues including the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Chinese internet, and more. Take a moment to review highlights from the Class of 2021 here.

Awista Ayub
Director, Fellows Program

Three questions with...
2022 Fellow Sarah Kay

Your Fellows project will be a book about your Japanese American grandmother and the circumstances that brought her to a boarding school for indigenous girls in South Dakota at the end of World War II. Why did you decide to explore this story as a book?

Nobody in my family had any photographs or documents from this period of my grandmother’s life—just lore and two pairs of moccasins. In 2019, I met a woman who grew up in South Dakota, who felt it was possible to find someone who might have known my grandmother. (A Japanese American woman would have stood out in 1946!) Through many kind people making connections on my behalf, I had the opportunity to meet and interview people across the state—welcomed into the homes of alumni in their 90s, historians, Episcopal Reverends, a former Tribal Chief, and residents of the town where the school once was, who have lived there since the 1940s. What started as a personal project to fill in the gaps in my family’s history, has evolved into an opportunity to look more closely at this unlikely intersection of histories.

How do you plan to balance the personal, including family documents and heirlooms, with the wider historical narrative of Japanese American internment and indigenous boarding schools in the book?

In its final form, this book will braid together three main threads: 1) My experiences and conversations in South Dakota over the past few years, 2) The events of my grandmother’s life from internment to South Dakota to post-war Los Angeles, and 3) Stories and anecdotes from interviews and research that provide background and context. The book is primarily a personal narrative and not meant to be anthropological or comprehensive, but I am incorporating as much research as I can, including primary documents and images that I have amassed and digitized from several visits to the Springfield Historical Society Museum, the archives at Augustana College, the archives of the South Dakota Oral History Center, and the State Archives in Pierre, in addition to transcripts of conversations with the people I’ve interviewed.

Many people know you through your poetry, including your viral TEDTalk presentation of your poem “If I Should Have A Daughter.” Does poetry influence your current project?

Yes! There is very little in my life that poetry does not influence. :) This book is a new medium for me (longform nonfiction), but I hope to integrate what I have learned from years of poetry writing, and much like I do in my poetry, I plan to incorporate research, memoir, and metaphor throughout.

Two Cents

The Class of 2022 shares why they applied for the New America Fellowship.

1: I applied for a New America Fellowship in hopes of joining a dynamic intellectual community of brilliant writers and thinkers who are shaping American literature, politics, and public policy. I have learned so much from New America Fellows over the years, and it’s an honor to be part of the 2022 Class. — Keisha N. Blain, Class of 2022

2: There are so many journalists, writers and public intellectuals who I look up to whose projects have been supported by New America: Masha Gessen, Anand Gopal, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Clint Smith, Adam Harris and many others. I couldn't imagine a better fellowship and community to get the most out of myself and my material for my first book. — Julian Brave NoiseCat, Class of 2022

3: I am a big fan & follower of several current & former Fellows, but I never would have considered applying without the encouragement of Dr. Eve L. Ewing & Dr. Clint Smith III, who are two of the smartest people I know, & who also happen to be dear friends. They both separately reached out to tell me I should apply, & their votes of support convinced me to give it a try. — Sarah Kay, Class of 2022

4: Many policies that dominated the child care policy agenda twenty years ago are being reevaluated today out of the growing recognition that not only did they do little to improve child care, they actually widened racial disparities. The thing is, I spoke with many child care providers nearly two decades ago who could have told policymakers this would happen. In fact, they tried but few people listened. I applied for a New America Fellowship to make sure people listen to them this time as we reimagine child care in the wake of the pandemic. — Myra Jones-Taylor, Class of 2022

5: I hoped that engaging with the extraordinary New America community of thinkers and experts would improve my own craft and thinking about the climate change issues I cover, and help me write the best version of my current book project, about migration spurred by climate change. — Abrahm Lustgarten, Class of 2022

6: My long-term aspiration as a historian is to write things that interest people outside academic circles: Community members, journalists, policymakers. The New America Fellowship jumped out as a dreamy opportunity to learn how to transition to publishing "crossover" books and essays. I'm thrilled to have this chance to develop these skills by connecting with experienced mentors and peers in the program. — Ellen D. Wu, Class of 2022

7: I was looking for a community of smart, engaged people who could help expand my thinking and writing. — Azam Ahmed, Class of 2022

8: Every year when the Fellows are announced I'm always in awe of the range and depth of their projects, and I'd always think to myself "maybe one day I'll be able to join them." I'm so excited that day has come! — Rose Eveleth, Class of 2022

9: I was looking for an exchange of ideas on the subjects I'm covering, and this seemed perfect for it. — Mike Giglio, Class of 2022

10: The incredible work New America has supported, including that by Rachel Aviv, Azmat Khan, Patrick Radden Keefe, Brian Goldstone, and Vann Newkirk, to just name a few. — Francesca Mari, Class of 2022

11: Some of my favorite journalists and writers, including a few New York Times Magazine colleagues (Daniel Bergner, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Nikole Hannah-Jones) have been New America Fellows in recent years. I thought I would copy them and apply. I also have a book project—about how and why we change our personal identities during a time of rapid social change—that I hoped New America would find relevant to its interests and mission. — Benoit Denizet-Lewis, Class of 2022

12: Following after 2021 Fellow Eve L. Ewing, whose multi-hyphenate creative and academic accomplishments ever inspire my writing adventures. — Lauren Michele Jackson, Class of 2022


Adam Harris's book The State Must Provide was reviewed by the New York Times. He was interviewed about the book on NPR's "Fresh Air" and "All Things Considered." He also spoke with multiple outlets such as Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle of Higher Education, MSNBCYahoo Finance, the Phi Delta Kappan, and NBC News about the book. 

Clint Smith's book How the Word is Passed, has been longlisted for the National Book Award in Nonfiction. The book was reviewed by Mother Jones. It was also included on USA Today's list of the best books of 2021 so far. Clint spoke about the book on the podcast "Vox Conversations" from Vox and was interviewed about his work by the Washingtonian.

In an article for InquestShaun Ossei-Owusu argued for a change in criminal legal education in order to confront the role of lawyers in societal issues like mass incarceration

Yi-Ling Liu created a video story with VICE News to report on the underground culture of ballroom and voguing in China.

Two Cents
New America Events

The top 3 New America events we recommend you check out. Now.



Andrew Carnegie Fellows Forum on Rethinking Rights

Join the Carnegie Fellows for a discussion on what rights are, how we define them, and our evolving understanding of how they can protect people and places. Moderated by 2017 Fellow Azmat Khan. Learn more


Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City

Join the New America Fellows Program for a conversation with Andrea Elliott and 2021 Fellow Brian Goldstone about the story of Dasani and the harsh realities of poverty and homelessness facing thousands of American families. Learn more


Renewal: From Crisis to Transformation in Our Lives, Work, and Politics

Join New America and the Ford Foundation for a conversation between New America CEO Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter and Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, on the power of renewal and her new book. Learn More

Reading this month

I've been reading a lot of what I guess is called "autofiction" and this is among my favorites. I'm fascinated by how authors in this genre build these stories from life. 
— Anna Louie Sussman,
Class of 2022

Learn More

This is a small, but important meditation on our divided, divisive society—essential for anyone wanting to understand how we arrived at 2021, and how we might heal as a nation.
Janet Reitman,
Class of 2022

Learn More

An expansive, immersive, wryly funny novel that examines the complexities of American Muslim life through one father-son relationship.
Justine van der Leun,
Class of 2022

Learn More

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We are storytellers who generate big, bold ideas that have an impact and spark new conversations about the most pressing issues of our day.

The three who put this together

Sarah Baline + Rachel Walsh + Awista Ayub

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