In this Jan. 17, 2015 file photo, Claudia Rankine attends the 46th NAACP Image Awards Nominees' Luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Rob Latour/Invision/AP, File)
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Gene Luen Yang, a prize-winning author and the national ambassador for young people's literature, and Claudia Rankine, one of poetry's brightest and most innovative stars, are among this year's 23 MacArthur fellows and recipients of the so-called "genius" grants.More than 900 people have received the grants since 1981, with previous fellows including "Hamilton" playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, author-journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates and dancer-choreographer Merce Cunningham. Fellows, brought to the foundation's attention by an anonymous pool of nominators, do not apply for the money and are not informed they've been chosen until shortly before the awards are announced.The foundation also selected author Maggie Nelson, New Yorker staff writer Sarah Stillman, composer Julia Wolfe, theater artist and educator Anne Basting and playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.Jacobs-Jenkins learned of the MacArthur grant a few weeks ago in a phone call.Other fellows are sculptor Vincent Fecteau, art historian and curator Kellie Jones, cultural historian Josh Kun, author-writer Lauren Redniss, jewelry maker and sculptor Joyce J. Scott and video artist Mary Reid Kelley.
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