CHICAGO (AP) — Mandolin player Chris Thile (THEE'-lee) and novelist Junot (JOO'-noh) Diaz are among 23 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants."
The Chicago-based foundation awards $500,000 grants each year in a process shrouded with secrecy. Winners don't know they've been nominated for the grants paid over five years until they win. Nominators must remain anonymous.
There have been 873 MacArthur Fellows, including this year's winners. The no-strings-attached grants bring freedom to pursue a creative vision. Recipients don't have to report on how they spend the money.
Thile says he may use the grant to fund a chamber music project for a bluegrass quintet, while Northwestern University historian Dylan C. Penningroth says he now can expand his search for court records of property owned by slaves in the pre-Civil War South.
MacArthur Foundation: http://www.macfound.org