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The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has chosen writer Ta-Nehisi Coates to be among the 24 recipients of the 2015 “genius” grants from the organization.

“When I first got the call from the MacArthur foundation, I was ecstatic,” Coates said in a video on the foundation website. “You know, if anybody even reads what I’m doing, that’s a great day.”

Coates, also national correspondent at The Atlantic was referred to by the foundation as “a highly distinctive voice [who is] emerging as a leading interpreter of American concerns to a new generation of media-savvy audiences and having a profound impact on the discussion of race and racism in this country.”

They also added this:

“Writing without shallow polemic and in a measured style, Coates addresses complex and challenging issues such as racial identity, systemic racial bias, and urban policing. He subtly embeds the present—in the form of anecdotes about himself or others—into historical analysis in order to illustrate how the implications of the past are still experienced by people today.”

The so-called “genius” grant is awarded to individuals who are advancing society in various ways.”The purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society,” says the Foundation’s website.

 The award comes with a $625,000 grant that is awarded over the next five years. It does not obligate recipients to produce work and is given with no strings attached, although it aims to ease the financial burden on anyone who wants to continue to explore in their chosen field. 

This is among other honors for Coates this year, including being named a National Book Award finalist for his best-selling book Between The World and Me and being named to write new “Black Panther” comics for Marvel.

(Get the full story at The Atlantic.)

(Photo: McArthur Foundation)

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