Kiese Laymon, an esteemed English professor at Rice University in Houston, Texas, has been awarded the highly sought-after MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as the “genius grant,” for the 2022 cycle.
As the second individual in Rice University’s history to be bestowed with this prestigious accolade, Professor Laymon drew upon his personal experiences as a Black Southern author to explore various types of violence.
“His writing across multiple forms — including essays, memoirs and fiction — is rooted in his perspective as a Black Southern man,” stated a report from the university’s media.
Professor Laymon has written numerous works, comprising novels and collections of essays. Upon being granted the MacArthur Fellowship prize, he expressed gratitude to everyone who aided him in his journey.
“I’m not one for awards and recognition, but this one feels special. Revision and Mississippi did this. I’m just thankful. Some really incredible people thought my work was OK. That’s a big deal to me,” Laymon said of the fellowship.
As a member of the 2022 cohort of MacArthur Fellows, Professor Kiese Laymon was given an $800,000 grant to use as he sees fit.
The President of Rice University, Reginald DesRoches, hailed Professor Laymon’s win as a major triumph for the university. “This is a huge win for Kiese, for Rice’s School of Humanities and for the university as a whole,” he said.