Jad Abumrad, Kay Ryan & Peter Hessler Win $500,000 Genius Grants

By Jason Boog Comment

The 2011 MacArthur Fellows have been revealed–22 creative individuals will receive a $500,000 “genius grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The list includes a number of writers and storytellers, including RadioLab host Jad Abumrad (pictured, via) poet Kay Ryan and New Yorker writer Peter Hessler.

Here’s more about the awards: “The recipients learned, through a phone call out of the blue from the Foundation, that they will each receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years.  MacArthur Fellowships come without stipulations or reporting requirements and offer Fellows unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore. The unusual level of independence afforded to Fellows underscores the spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavors. The work of MacArthur Fellows knows neither boundaries nor the constraints of age, place, and endeavor.”

We’ve listed all the writers and storytellers below…

Jad Abumrad: “Radio Host and Producer engaging a new generation of listeners with audio explorations of scientific and philosophical questions that evoke a sense of adventure and recreate the thrill of discovery.”

Peter Hessler: “Long-Form Journalist crafting richly illuminating and keenly observed accounts of ordinary people responding to the complexities of life in such rapidly changing societies as Reform Era China.”
Tiya Miles: “Public Historian reframing and reinterpreting the history of our diverse nation in works that illuminate the complex interrelationships between African and Cherokee peoples in colonial America.”

Kay Ryan: “Poet composing deceptively simple verse of wisdom and elegance, grounded in explorations of familiar ideas and experiences, and surprising us with the possibilities of the medium.”

A. E. Stallings: “Poet and Translator mining the classical world and traditional poetic techniques to craft imaginative explorations of contemporary life that evoke startling insights about antiquity’s relevance for today.”