Tag: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Claudia Rankine, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Kellie Jones and Joyce J. Scott Among 2016 MacArthur “Genius” Grant Recipients

2016 MacArthur Grant Fellows Claudia Rankine (top l); Kellie Jones (top r); Brandon Jeknins (bottom l); Sharon Scott (bottom r) [Photos courtesy macfound.org)
2016 MacArthur Grant Fellows Claudia Rankine (top l); Kellie Jones (top r); Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (bottom l); Joyce J. Scott (bottom r) [Photos courtesy macfound.org)

article by Jennifer Schuessler via nytimes.com

Getting a phone call from an unidentified number in Chicago in late summer is a fantasy many artists, scientists and other creative people have entertained. But that doesn’t mean it seems real when it actually happens.

“I thought I was having a psychotic breakdown,” the playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins said of his reaction to learning several weeks ago that he was among the 23 people selected as 2016 fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

“I went out on the street, and ran into a friend,” Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins continued. “I had him look at my cellphone, just to confirm that the call had been real.”

This year’s winners of the MacArthur fellowships, awarded for exceptional “originality, insight and potential,” and publicly announced on Thursday, include writers, visual artists, scientists, nonprofit organization leaders and others, who are chosen at a moment when the recognition and money — a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000 distributed over five years — will make a difference.

“We want to give people new wind against their sails,” said Cecilia A. Conrad, a managing director of the foundation and the leader of the fellows program.

The honorees include relatively well-known figures in the arts like the poet Claudia Rankine, 53, whose book “Citizen,” (2014) which explored racism in everyday life, won numerous awards and made the New York Times best-seller list; the essayist Maggie Nelson, 43, who won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism for “The Argonauts,” a hard-to-classify exploration of gender, motherhood and identity; and Gene Luen Yang, 43, who in January became the first graphic novelist named national ambassador for children’s literature by the Library of Congress.

The youngest fellow is Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins, 31, known for plays, like “An Octoroon” and “Neighbors,” that address race, class and history, sometimes through the remixing of charged stereotypes. The oldest is Joyce J. Scott, 67, a Baltimore-based artist whose work includes performance art and large-scale sculptural pieces that incorporate traditional beadwork into pointed commentaries on American culture, the black female body and other subjects.

To read full article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/arts/macarthur-foundation-announces-2016-genius-grant-winners.html

Toni Morrison Receives $25,000 Honorary Award From PEN for American Fiction

article by Hillel Italie via blackamericaweb.com

NEW YORK (AP) — Nobel laureate Toni Morrison has received an honorary prize named for another Nobel winner, the late Saul Bellow.

PEN America, the literary and human rights organization, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Morrison has been given the $25,000 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American fiction. Morrison, 85, is known for such novels as “Beloved,” ”Song of Solomon” and “Jazz.”

“Revelatory, intelligent, bold, her fiction is invested in the black experience, in black lives, and in black consciousness, material from which she has forged a singular American aesthetic,” awards judge Louise Erdrich, herself a prize-winning novelist, said in a statement. “Toni Morrison not only opened doors to others when she began to publish, she has also stayed grounded in the issues of her time.”

PEN announced several other prizes on Tuesday.

Lisa Ko’s “The Leavers” won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, a $25,000 award. John Schulian, a sports writer for numerous publications, received the $5,000 PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing. Ed Roberson was given the $5,000 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry.

Three playwrights received prizes: Lynn Nottage, whose works include the Pulitzer-winning “Ruined,” was named a Master American Dramatist; Young Jean Lee was cited as an American Playwright in Mid-Career and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins as an Emerging American Playwright.

To read more, go to: http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/03/01/toni-morrison-receives-25000-honorary-award-from-pen/

Dominique Morisseau and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Win 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards

Dominque Morisseau (L) and Branden Jacobs
Playwrights Dominque Morisseau (L) and Branden Jacobs (photo via eurweb.com)

Playwrights Dominique Morisseau and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins were honored at the 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards held at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City.

The Steinberg Playwright Awards are presented biennially to playwrights in early and middle stages of their careers who have distinctive and compelling voices and whose current bodies of work exhibit exceptional talent and artistic excellence.

Jacobs-Jenkins stuns audiences with laughter, intrigue and thought compelling plots that poke at race, class and culture in plays such as Appropriate, Neighbors, War and Octoroon.

Ms. Morisseau’s plays provide an equal literary and emotional landscape and they include: Skeleton Crew, Detroit ’67, Paradise Blue and Blood At The Root.

In attendance at the Steinberg Playwright Awards were past award recipients Rajiv Joseph and Lisa D’Amour; 2015 Steinberg Playwright Awards Advisory Committee members Jeremy Cohen, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Neil Pepe, Bill Rauch and Chay Yew; as well as Laura Osnes, Celia Keenan-Bolger, John Ellison Conlee, Michael Urie, Sarah Stiles, Geneva Carr, Wesley Taylor, Montego Glover, Lynda Gravatt, Mara Davi, Ashley Park, Stephen Henderson and many more.

article by LaRita Shelby via eurweb.com