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Writers, Photographers, Filmmakers Among 2012 MacArthur ‘Genius Award’ Winners

Twenty-three individuals have each received $500,000 “genius awards,” the MacArthur Foundation announced early Tuesday. The no-strings-attached grants are awarded annually to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”

Nearly half of this year’s MacArthur Fellows come from arts-related fields. Among them are Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz and mandolinist Chris Thile, both of whom we’ve spoken to here on Art Beat this year. Diaz first appeared on the NewsHour in 2008 just as his breakthrough novel, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” was gaining a lot of positive attention.

Other winners include: photographers Uta Barth and An-My Le, filmmakers Natalia Almada and Laura Poitras, arts entrepreneur Claire Chase, writer Dinaw Mengestu, historian Dylan C. Penningroth and instrument maker Benoit Rolland.

See a slide show of the 2012 MacArthur Fellows in the arts:

Find coverage of last year’s MacArthur Fellowships here.

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