Kenny Fries


Kenny Fries is the author of In the Province of the Gods, which received the Creative Capital literature award; The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory, winner of the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights; and Body, Remember: A Memoir. He edited Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out and was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera to write the libretto for The Memory Stone. His books of poems include In the Gardens of Japan, Desert Walking, and Anesthesia. Kenny’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Granta, The Believer, Kyoto Journal, LiteraryHub, Electric Literature, The Progressive, Catapult, Los Angeles Review of Books, and in many other publications and anthologies. He wrote the Disability Beat column for How We Get To Next, and developed the Fries Test for disability representation in our culture. His work has been translated into Spanish, German, French, and Japanese. Kenny is recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Arts and Literary Arts Fellowship, and was a Creative Arts Fellow of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has twice been a Fulbright Scholar (Japan and Germany), and has received grants from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange), Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council. In 2020, Kenny received a 3-year multi-project grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to support collaborative projects with artists and institutions around the world, using his privilege as a pioneer in disability arts to foster an enduring connection between generations of disabled artists. He teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College.

Kenny Fries website

Queering the Crip, Cripping the Queer

Praise for In the Province of the Gods:

“Kenny Fries writes out of the pure hot emergency of a mortal being trying to keep himself alive. So much is at stake here—health, affection, culture, trauma, language--but its greatest surprise is what thrives in the midst of suffering. A beautiful book."

—Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door


“In this subtle page turner, Fries helps reinvent the travel-as-pilgrimage narrative.  He neither exoticizes nor shies away from the potential pitfalls of a western mind traveling abroad; instead he demonstrates how, through an all too rare open heart and a true poet’s eye, bridges can be built, and understanding deepened, one sincere action at a time.”

—Marie Mutsuki Mockett, author of Where the Dead Wave, and the Japanese Say Goodbye


"Deeply moving and exquisitely written, and about many things—cultural and physical difference, sexuality, love, loss, mortality and the ephemeral nature of beauty and art. It is also a love letter to Japan, a country that embraced the author at a time when he needed acceptance the most. But perhaps most importantly, this is that rare kind of book that offers us a profound sense of what it means to be truly alive."

—Mira Bartók, author of  The Memory Palace,  National Book Critics Circle Award winner and New York Times bestseller

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