Kenny Fries

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Fries at the 2017 Texas Book Festival

Kenny Fries (born September 22, 1960) is an American memoirist and poet.[1] He is the author of In the Province of the Gods (2017), The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory (2007), Body, Remember: A Memoir (1997), and editor of Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out (1997). He was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera to write the libretto for The Memory Stone, which premiered in 2013.[2] His books of poems include In the Gardens of Japan (2017), Desert Walking (2006) and Anesthesia (2000). He received a 2009 Creative Capital grant in Innovative Literature, the 2007 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, the Gregory Kolovakos Award, a Creative Arts Fellowship from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the National Endowment, and has twice been a Fulbright Scholar (in Japan and Germany).[citation needed]


Early life and education[edit]

Fries was born in Brooklyn, New York.[4] He graduated with an MFA from Columbia University's School for the Arts.[4]

Fries graduated in 1977 from high school[which?] and went on to pursue a degree in English and American Literature, at Brandeis University.[citation needed] He received a master's degree in Playwriting at Columbia University.[citation needed]


Kenny Fries officially started writing in 1988, after he had begun attending Millay Colony for the Arts.[5] The majority of Fries' books and poems were written due to his experiences as a disabled, gay, Jewish man. Some of the writings that Fries has written include: Body, Remember: A Memoir (2003), Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out, The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory (2007), Anesthesia: Poems by Kenny Fries (1996), Desert Walking: Poems (2000), The Healing Notebooks (1990) and Night After Night: Poems (1984). Some of the scholarly writings written by Fries include: "Songs of Whitman" (2003), "Comedy is Not a Crutch" (2001), and "Where Ecstasy Might Reside" (1995).[citation needed]

Honors and awards[edit]

Kenny Fries received the 2007 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the study of Bigotry and Human Rights.[citation needed] He was a Creative Arts Fellow of the Japan-US Friendship commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as being twice a Fulbright scholar to Japan and Germany.[6] In 2009, Fries received residency in the artists' community in Yaddo.[7] In 2010 he received Ledig House International writers residency. Fries has also collaborated with composers Kumiko Takahashi and Yuka Takechi, and singer Mika Kimula on their new music work In the Gardens of Japan, which has been performed in Tokyo, Yokohama, and New York City.[8] Fries has also received a grant in Literature from the Creative Capital to complete his memoir, In the Province of the Gods,[9] which will be published September 19, 2017 by University of Wisconsin Press.


  • The Healing Notebooks (1990)
  • Anesthesia: Poems (1996)
  • Body, Remember: A Memoir (1997)
  • Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out (1997)
  • Desert Walking: Poems (2000)
  • The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory (2007)
  • The Memory Stone (2013)
  • In the Gardens of Japan (2017)
  • In the Province of the Gods (2017)


  1. ^ Klein, Jeff. "The Starting Line: What Is Disability?: May 16, 2008", The New York Times, 2008-05-16. Retrieved on 2009-05-23.]
  2. ^ "Houston Grand Opera presents The Memory Stone". CultureMap Houston. Retrieved 2017-08-15. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Nelson, Emmanuel Sampath (2003). Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights, Greenwood Publishing Group.
  5. ^ "INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KENNY FRIES". Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  6. ^ "Kenny Fries | Fulbright Scholar Program". Retrieved 2017-08-15. 
  7. ^ "Writers". Yaddo. 2016-09-11. Retrieved 2017-08-15. 
  8. ^ ""In the Gardens of Japan" by Kenny Fries". CreateSpace. Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  9. ^ "Creative Capital - Investing in Artists who Shape the Future". Retrieved 2017-08-03. 

External links[edit]