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A Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, a New York Times journalist, a social justice activist, and several historians and computer scientists are among this year’s MacArthur fellows and recipients of "genius" grants.
Awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, MacArthur fellows are chosen after demonstrating “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction." Each recipient receives a “no strings attached" grant, according to the foundation’s website. The $625,000 award is paid out over the course of five years.
Viet Thanh Nguyen, whose novel about Vietnam War refugees, “The Sympathizer,” received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, was one of the fellows who received the award on Wednesday morning.
“In the novel, I wanted to refuse the role of the victim for the Vietnamese people or depict them solely as victims, but to depict them as people with complex subjectivities and histories,” Nguyen said in 2016.
Fellow grant recipient Nikole Hannah-Jones is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine and a co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which is devoted to increasing the number of reporters and editors of color in journalism. Her work primarily centers on the continuing segregation of public schools in the United States.
Social justice organizer Cristina Jiménez Moreta is also a grant recipient. A former undocumented immigrant, she is now the executive director of United We Dream, a group that is focused on undocumented youth and their families.
The complete list of 2017 MacArthur fellows is below:
- Njideka Akunyili Crosby, painter, Los Angeles.
- Sunil Amrith, historian, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Greg Asbed, human rights strategist, Immokalee, Florida.
- Annie Baker, playwright, New York.
- Regina Barzilay, computer scientist, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Dawoud Bey, photographer and educator, Chicago.
- Emmanuel Candès, mathematician and statistician, Stanford, California.
- Jason De León, anthropologist, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- Rhiannon Giddens, singer and songwriter, Greensboro, North Carolina.
- Nikole Hannah-Jones, journalist, New York.
- Cristina Jiménez Moreta, social justice organizer, Washington, D.C.
- Taylor Mac, theater artist, New York.
- Rami Nashashibi, community leader, Chicago.
- Viet Thanh Nguyen, fiction writer and cultural critic, Los Angeles.
- Kate Orff, landscape architect, New York.
- Trevor Paglen, artist and geographer, Berlin.
- Betsy Levy Paluck, psychologist, Princeton, New Jersey.
- Derek Peterson, historian, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- Damon Rich, designer and urban planner, Newark, New Jersey.
- Stefan Savage, computer scientist, La Jolla, California.
- Yuval Sharon, opera director/producer, Los Angeles.
- Tyshawn Sorey, composer and musician, Middletown, Connecticut.
- Gabriel Victora, immunologist, New York.
- Jesmyn Ward, fiction writer, New Orleans