Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship Awarded to St. John’s Faculty Member

Catina Bacote headshot
March 19, 2021

Already a gifted college professor, sought-after lecturer, and celebrated author, Catina Bacote, M.F.A., now adds Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship winner to her impressive curriculum vitae, as the Assistant Professor of English in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was recently announced as a recipient of the Fellowship for Literature.

“The Jerome Hill Fellowship provides me with an incredible opportunity to deepen my practice, pursue my research questions relentlessly, and take risks in my writing,” she said. “As a fellow, I am also fortunate to join a cohort of dedicated artists across disciplines.”

Professor Bacote has been a member of St. John’s faculty since 2018 and specializes in creative nonfiction. Her courses at St. John’s include Writing as Social Action, Literature in a Global Context: Place, Power, and Belonging, Writers of Witness, and Advanced Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Literary Journalism. She has lectured extensively at colleges, universities, and conferences across the nation.

“This year’s cohort represents an extraordinary social and aesthetic range, advancing their practices and engaging their community in exciting ways, even in these difficult and unprecedented times,” said Linda Earle, Board Chair, Jerome Foundation. “The work of all of these artists in binding our communities together and in stimulating our imagination has never been more important.”

Born in Saint Paul, MN, Jerome Hill was an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, painter, photographer, composer, and supporter of the arts and artists in the United States and Europe. The Jerome Foundation provides grants for New York City- or Minnesota-based artists who generate and create bold, innovative, and risk-taking new work that explores and/or challenges conventional artistic forms.

The foundation reviewed a total of 820 applications this year and awarded 60 fellowships—10 each in the disciplines of dance, film/new media, literature, music, theater/performance/spoken word, and visual arts.

In her fellowship statement, Ms. Bacote explained the nature of her works in literature. “I am interested in how the writer’s voice acts as an ethical pointer in a world where poverty and excessive wealth, political repression, gun violence, racial segregation, and mass incarceration persist.”

Her statement continued, “As an artist, I aspire to step into uncharted territory and gently bring others along with me. I engage in this work not as a distant observer or objective researcher but as a Black woman whose life has been shaped by racial and economic injustice.”

The foundation’s selection panel considers applicants’ samples of work; artistic accomplishments; the potential impact of a fellowship on their careers and artistic field; their readiness to take maximum advantage of support; and their alignment with Jerome’s values of innovation, diversity, and humility.

A native of New Haven, CT, Ms. Bacote has been featured in The Common, December Magazine, The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, Kweli, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Southern California Review, Tin House, and TriQuarterly, and in the anthology, This Is the Place: Women Writing about Home

“Presently, I am working on my first book-in-progress, Eastern Circle, which chronicles the lasting impact of the illegal drug trade on families and communities,” said Ms. Bacote. “The two-year fellowship period gives me time to complete it and begin my second book project.”