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Brilliant Professor wins genius grant at US university for his outstanding research, gets $800k cash prize

Kiese Laymon, an outstanding professor of English at Rice University in Houston, Texas, has been given the coveted MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius grant,” for the 2022 cohort.

With his victory, Professor Kiese Laymon became just the second person in Rice University’s history to earn the renowned honor. According to a report from the university’s media, Professor Laymon used his background as a Black Southern author to describe different types of violence he saw firsthand.

“His writing across multiple forms — including essays, memoirs and fiction — is rooted in his perspective as a Black Southern man,” the report stated.

Professor Laymon has written a number of works, including novels and anthologies of essays. In response to receiving the MacArthur Fellowship prize, he thanked everyone who had helped make him successful.

“I’m not big into 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 received a grant of $800,000. The recipients are free to utilize the money however they see right.

The President of Rice University, Reginald DesRoches, described Professor Laymon’s win as a huge win 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.

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