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Meet Pitt’s first Berlin Prize recipient

A portrait of Michael Meyer

English Professor Michael Meyer won a 2023-24 Berlin Prize Fellowship — and became the first Pitt faculty member to receive the award.

Meyer, who teaches in the Writing Program in Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, will receive support and resources from the The American Academy in Berlin as he works on his book “Taiwan Rising: Biography of a Modern Nation,” which will explore the country’s history through reporting, archival research and the perspectives of Taiwanese residents.

While in Berlin, the electus faculty fellow of the David C. Frederick Honors College will interview European academics and policymakers on the history of Taiwan’s international relations. These experts, he said, “have studied or lived in a divided nation, where families were torn asunder by ideology and geopolitics.”

As part of the fellowship, the writing professor will work among about a dozen U.S.-based writers, composers and artists to provide lectures, readings and performances to German audiences during the spring semester.

Meyer has authored several books on topics ranging from U.S. history to East Asian studies. His most recent project, “A Dirty, Filthy Book: Annie Besant v. the Victorians over Sex and the Subjugation of Women,” is set to be published by Penguin Books UK and Harvard University Press in 2024. His previous works include “Benjamin Franklin’s Last Bet: The Favorite Founder’s Divisive Death, Enduring Afterlife, and Blueprint for American Prosperity” (HarperCollins, 2022) and “The Road to Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up” (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017).

Meyer is also a recipient of the 2023 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and is a Fulbright scholar, Guggenheim fellow and Whiting Award winner.


— Donovan Harrell, photo courtesy of Michael Meyer