MacArthur Foundation Names 2017 ‘Genius’ Grant Winners

Originally written for the New York Times, the following is an excerpt about Viet Thanh Nguyen from Jennifer Schuessler’s New York Times article on the 2017 MacArthur Grant recipients.

Image credits to Oriana Koren for The New York Times. The novelist and professor Viet Thanh Nguyen at his home in Los Angeles.

Image credits to Oriana Koren for The New York Times. The novelist and professor Viet Thanh Nguyen at his home in Los Angeles.

Mr. Nguyen, who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for his novel “The Sympathizer,” said he wanted to use some of the money to hire an editor to oversee the blog he created for the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, as recognition to the broader tradition that made his own success possible.

“I think back to the first Asian-American writers,” he said. “They were really lonely people back then. They deserve this fellowship, too.”

Mr. Nguyen, a professor of English and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California who has toggled between fiction and scholarship, added that the honor came with something paradoxical: a new opportunity to fail.

“I’ve always been someone who didn’t understand why we had these boundaries between disciplines, but when you try something new it can be humiliating,” he said. “Hopefully that’s something the MacArthur will enable: to continue risking humiliation.”

 

 

 

Category: News

 

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