Meet the Trio of Writers Receiving MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’

Every year, the prestigious MacArthur Foundation chooses individuals from around the world in all types of professions to honor. This year, three very different writers made the list. Their subject matter ranges from agriculture and naturalism to discourse on race. What they all have in common is talent.

Ben Lerner is a 36-year-old novelist. His two books, Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, have been praised for breaking traditional style and portray humorous and real relationships. The Foundation chose him for his works “that convey the texture of our contemporary moment and explore the relevance of art and the artist in modern culture.” Lerner also teaches at the Brooklyn College in New York.

Journalist and essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates has recently become a big name in the literary world. This year, he published Between the World and Me, a book-length essay examining the construction of race in American society. Beyond the literary world, he also signed on to write a new comic series for Marvel’s Black Panther character. This is not the first time this year Coates has been recognized for this work; he is also nominated for the National Book Award’s Nonfiction Prize. MacArthur chose Coates for looking at serious contemporary topics “through the lens of personal experience and nuanced historical analysis.” 

Ellen Bryant Voigt is a prolific poet and teacher who has published critically acclaimed collections such as Claiming Kin and Headwaters. Voigt’s work looks at the human and animal experiences in this world through a rural lens. She was chosen for the Fellowship because of her “ongoing experimentation between form and technique.”

Are you a fan of one of these writers? Let us know in the comments!  

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