ROCKPORT — Teju Cole, novelist, photographer, and critic, will visit Maine Media Workshops + College between Aug. 12 through 16 for a series of special events, including a public lecture on Friday, Aug. 13, an award reception on Saturday, Aug. 14, by invitation, and a master class on Monday, Aug. 16. Maine Magazine is a media sponsor for this event.

Formerly the photography critic of the New York Times Magazine from 2015 until 2019, Cole is currently the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard and the author of seven books. In his practice as a photographer, Cole maintains an extensive exhibition history both nationally and internationally.

On Friday, Aug. 13, from 3 to 4 p.m., Cole will deliver a live lecture entitled “Words for Pictures: Recent Projects.” The public is invited to attend the lecture as a simulcast. In this lecture, Cole will present the photo-text works he has created in the past five years, and will give a brief account of the decisions behind each of these projects. Cole will also talk about how he tries to balance his vocation as a photography critic with his work as both a writer and a photographer. To participate in the lecture via Zoom/Live Stream, register at For more information, contact Beth Storey at or 207-975-0500.

Cole is being honored at an award reception on Saturday, Aug. 14, outside under the Thorne Pavilion on the campus of Maine Media Workshops + College in Rockport as the recipient of the 2021 Joyce Tenneson Visionary Award from Maine Media Workshops + College in recognition and celebration of his extraordinary contributions to the fields of visual, media and literary arts.

The Joyce Tenneson Visionary Award, named for one of our community’s most distinguished and influential figures, was first awarded to its namesake in 2019.

“Maine Media seeks to inspire storytellers — in film, book arts, photography, or writing,” photographer Joyce Tenneson remarked. “I cannot think of another person who embodies expertise in all these disciplines more completely than Teju Cole. He is truly a Renaissance man. I am so delighted he will be the recipient of this year’s Visionary Award.”

Michael Mansfield, Maine Media’s president, said “Teju is indeed a visionary. His work has influenced conversations on campus for a number of years now and his achievements in photography and literature continue to shape visual thinking across most contemporary modes of image making. I’m eager to introduce him to the community here, and to have him on campus. It’s an exciting moment.”

The recipient is selected by a jury comprised of Maine Media staff, board members, and members of the Maine Media community.

Cole’s visit and the Joyce Tenneson Visionary Award is supported by generous contributions from Marilyn Moss Rockefeller, a founding contributor to the Writer’s Harbor™ at Maine Media College, as well as by a Host Committee made up of numerous friends of Maine Media.