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Lewis West: Guernica Contributors Junot Díaz and Dinaw Mengestu named MacArthur Fellows

Congratulations to Junot Díaz and Dinaw Mengestu, recipients of 2012 MacArthur ‘Genius Grants’ in recognition of their wide-ranging literary accomplishments.
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This week, writers Junot Díaz and Dinaw Mengestu were awarded MacArthur ‘Genius Grants’ in recognition of their literary work. Both have previously contributed to Guernica, Díaz in an interview in June 2009 and Mengestu as moderator of Crisis Darfur, a conversation with Mia Farrow and Bernard-Henri Lévy.

Díaz has published numerous short stories, and won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. He has written on the challenges of immigration, assimilation, and the Caribbean Diaspora (and, incidentally, called Guernica “indispensable”). Mengestu has also explored diaspora through his nonfiction and fiction, chronicling the life of an Ethiopian refugee in his first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears.

Also among this year’s 23 recipients are a geochemist, a stringed-instrument bowmaker, and a marine ecologist. The MacArthur Foundation will provide each author with a $500,000 grant to promote their “intellectual, social, and artistic endeavors.”

Lewis West is an editorial intern with Guernica Daily.

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