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Jacqueline Woodson, NK Jemison, Cristina Rivera Garza and Tressie McMillan Cottom are the writers who have been chosen for the MacArthur Foundation’s grants for their work.

The MacArthur Foundation has a Fellows Program which aims to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations”

They award a $625,000 grant to all the fellows who have chosen, paid in quarterly installments to help them continue in their field. According to their website, “The Foundation awards fellowships directly to individuals rather than through institutions. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.”

Anyone can be nominated as long as they are residents or citizens of the United States, and do not hold elective office or advanced positions in government as defined by the statute.

The winners are no doubt grateful for the grant. Earlier this year, during the #PublishingPaidMe revelation, it was found that white authors are given considerably more than authors of colour, even within the same genre. Jemison had shared her figures and it shocked most readers to find out how little it was. She is a renowned author and the first one to win a Hugo award three years in a row for every part of her Broken Earth trilogy.

As author Roxane Gay succinctly put, “The discrepancy along racial lines is very real. Keep your day job. But the published books earned out immediately and that’s nice.”

A grant like the MacArthur Foundation’s one would go a long way to helping authors in writing more.

The foundation described Jemison as “a 2020 MacArthur Fellow pushing against the conventions of epic fantasy and science fiction genres while exploring deeply human questions about structural racism, environmental crises, and familial relationships.”

Cristina Rivera Garza was described as “a 2020 MacArthur Fellow exploring culturally constructed notions of language, memory, and gender from a transnational perspective.”

She writes in Spanish but, ‘No One Will See Me Cry’, ‘The Taiga Syndrome’ and ‘The Iliac Crest’ have been translated into English.

Jacqueline Woodson writes for younger readers. The foundation said she, “is redefining children’s and young adult literature to encompass more complex issues and reflect the lives of Black children, teenagers, and families.”

Her books ‘The Other Side’, ‘Miracle’s Boys’ and ‘Harbour me’ go a long way in educating children about the world.

Tressie McMillan Cottom is not a fiction author but a sociologist, writer, and public scholar.

The foundation described her as, “is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow shaping discourse on highly topical issues at the confluence of race, gender, education, and digital technology.” She has written several studies and essays that on those topics that have been published in different publications or compilations.

Source of original article:John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (
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