(Photo credit: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)
We were delighted to learn that MMUF fellow Kiese Laymon is among the 2022 winners of the MacArthur Fellowship. Kiese was selected as a fellow as an undergraduate at Oberlin College and later earned an MFA from Indiana University. He is currently the Libby Shearn Moody Professor of English and creative writing at Rice University, and has previously taught at the University of Mississippi and Vassar College. Kiese is the author of three acclaimed books: the short story collection Long Division (originally published in 2013), the essay collection How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America (also originally published in 2013), and the memoir Heavy: An American Memoir (2018). He has recently published revised editions of Long Division (2020) and How to Slowly Kill Yourself (2021) that better capture his original intentions for these works. His MacArthur biography and video interview can be viewed here.
The MacArthur Fellowship is a no-strings-attached $800,000 award to individuals whom the MacArthur Foundation believes to have a track record of exceptional creativity and who demonstrate great promise for their future work. Kiese is now the fourth MMUF fellow to win the fellowship, following artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Swarthmore '04)in 2017 and scholars Monica Muñoz Martinez (Brown University '06) and Jacqueline Stewart (Stanford '91), both of whom were awarded the fellowship in 2021.