The award was announced by the U.S. Information Agency and the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board.
A member of the Hamilton faculty since 1995, Ferriss is the author of four novels, Against Gravity, Philip's Girl, The Gated River, and, most recently, The Misconceiver, which is set in Utica in 2026. Her fiction has been recognized with awards from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Faulkner Society. In addition, she has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post Book World and Boston magazine.
Ferriss is also a literary critic, having written Sleeping with the Boss: Female Subjectivity and Narrative Pattern in Robert Penn Warren, which was published in 1997. She received a bachelor's degree from Pomona College, a master's degree from San Francisco State University and a master's degree and a Ph.D. from Tufts University.
The Fulbright program was established in 1946 under Congressional legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. It is intended "to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries." The U.S. Information Agency, an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch of the U.S. government, sponsors the Fulbright program.