Novelist and poet Ocean Vuong and comics artist and educator Lynda Barry are among the 26 people chosen to receive the annual fellowships—popularly known as “genius grants”—awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Vuong is the author of the 2019 novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Random House), and Barry is the author of the 2019 nonfiction graphic work Making Comics (D&Q). Other literary-oriented MacArthur fellows include Valeria Luiselli, the novelist, nonfiction writer, and author of the 2019 novel Lost Children’s Archive (PRH), and Saidiya Hartman, the literary scholar, cultural historian, and author of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval (W.W.Norton).
Also receiving 2019 MacArthur fellowships are historian Kelly Lytle Hernández, author of City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles 1771-1965 (UNC Press), Renaissance literary scholar Jeffrey Alan Miller, author of the forthcoming monograph Signifying Shadows, and classicist and translator Emily Wilson, whose works include the 2017 translation of the Homeric epic The Odyssey (W.W. Norton). A complete list of MacArthur Fellows is available on the MacArthur Foundation website.
The MacArthur fellowships are awarded to individuals “who show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future,” according to the Foundation. Recipients include artists, scientists, historians, composers, people in public service and outside of conventional disciplines. Each individual is awarded a grant of $625,000 dispensed in quarterly installments over 5 years, with no strings attached. Each MacArthur Fellow can spend the money on whatever they choose.