The MacArthur genius grant recipients for 2015 were announced today, and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda are both about to get $625,000 to keep doing exciting and widely loved projects.
Miranda’s musical Hamilton is currently on Broadway; it seems unlikely that the MacArthur fellow news will help ticket sales, as the show is already selling out months in advance. His musical In the Heights won four Tonys and a Grammy.
Besides Miranda, a bunch of other New Yorkers won genius grants, too, including novelist and poet Ben Lerner, painter Nicole Eisenman, a puppetry artist, a designer who builds furniture to help children with disabilities, a stem-cell biologist, and a tap dancer and choreographer.
Fellows usually aren’t aware that they are being being nominated for the “no strings attached” reward, which the Foundation hopes will be used to “advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.”
The MacArthur Fellow Class of 2014 included cartoonist Alison Bechdel, whose graphic memoir Fun Home inspired a musical now on Broadway, and lawyer Mary Bonauto, who was involved in the Supreme Court case that made same-sex marriage legal across the country. In other words, there is a very good chance we are going to see this year’s batch of fellows achieve more amazing things in the near future.