Radcliffe Institute Fellow Junot Díaz RI ’04 Named 2012 MacArthur Fellow
October 1, 2012
Cambridge, Mass.—Today, Junot Díaz, Pulitzer–prize winning writer, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Radcliffe Institute fellow in 2003–2004, was named a 2012 MacArthur Fellow. Díaz—selected for his creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future—is one of 23 recipients of this year’s “genius grant,” which awards fellows $500,000 over five years.
After becoming a literary sensation in the mid-1990s for his powerful short stories—often set in the barrios of the Dominican Republic and published in Drown—Diaz won a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute. He worked at the Institute during the 2003–2004 academic year on his second book, the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel titled The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, published in 2007. Diaz’s third book, another collection of short stories, This is How You Lose Her, came out in September to great acclaim.
Judith Vichniac, associate dean of the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship Program, says, “We’re thrilled about Junot’s MacArthur and delighted that we were able to provide support early in his career.”
“These extraordinary individuals demonstrate the power of creativity,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. “The MacArthur Fellowship is not only a recognition of their impressive past accomplishments but also, more importantly, an investment in their potential for the future. We believe in their creative instincts and hope the freedom the Fellowship provides will enable them to pursue unfettered their insights and ideas for the benefit of the world.”
Junot Díaz joins an esteemed group of Radcliffe Institute fellows who have been awarded MacArthur Fellowships. Acclaimed historian Annette Gordon-Reed JD ’84, the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, professor at Harvard Law School, and a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, was a 2010 MacArthur Fellow. Artist Anna Schuleit, a Radcliffe Institute fellow in 2006–2007, was selected to be a MacArthur Fellow during her Radcliffe fellowship year. A Radcliffe fellow also in 2007, journalist Alma Guillermoprieto won a MacArthur fellowship in 1995. Ann Blair, senior advisor to the humanities program, Academic Ventures at the Radcliffe Institute and Harvard College Professor and Henry Charles Lea Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, received a MacArthur fellowship in 2002.
About the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University
The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University is dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across the arts, humanities, arts, sciences, and social sciences. The Fellowship Program annually supports the work of 50 leading artists and scholars. Academic Ventures fosters collaborative research projects and seminars, and sponsors lectures and conferences to engage scholars with the public. The Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America furthers the Institute’s commitment to the study of women, gender, and society. For more information about the people, ideas, and events of the Radcliffe Institute, visit www.radcliffe.harvard.edu.