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The MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award recipients for 2013 were announced on Tuesday. Each of the 24 winners will receive a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that includes a $625,000 stipend to use for their future projects.
The New York Times reports that a third of the winners are based in New York, but all have distinguished careers.
“It was amazing to me,” dancer/choreographer Kyle Abraham, who relied on food stamps just three years ago. “It was a shock,” he told the Times about the moment he heard the news from Cecilia Conrad, vice president of the program. “I was laughing about it; I was crying about it, it was so overwhelming. I’ve been trying to figure out how to pay off my student loans to this day.”
According to Broadway.com, the theater world is represented by Tarell Alvin McCraney, 32. He is best known for The Brother/Sister Plays, a set of three plays produced by the Public Theater in New York. He also wrote Choir Boy, an off-Broadway production that garnered strong reviews. McCraney is currently a member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Company.
Other artists to receive the grant include Columbia University associate professor Donald Antrim, who wrote the novel The Verificationist; pianist Jeremy Denk; jazz pianist Vijay Iyer; and classical ballet choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. Karen Russell, 32, was the youngest winner. She is known for Vampires in the Lemon Grove, a collection of short stories. Photographer Carrie Mae Weems, 60, was the oldest.
You can check out the full list of winners and their achievements at MacFound.org.