Journalist, tap dancer among 2015 genius grant winners

Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:00am EDT
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(Reuters) - A journalist whose work focuses on race and racism in the United States and a New York City tap dancer and choreographer are among the 24 winners of $625,000 genius grants, the U.S. organization awarding them said on Monday.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation annually makes the awards as "seed money for intellectual, social, and artistic endeavors," according to the organization. The grants are paid out over five years.

This year's winners include Ta-Nehisi Coates, 39, whose journalism for the Atlantic and book "Between the World and Me" have provided context to a national debate on racism and police violence raging in response to numerous high-profile police killings of unarmed black people over the last year.

"These 24 delightfully diverse MacArthur Fellows are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways," MacArthur President Julia Stasch said in a statement.

The group, which began its program in 1981 to provide money to help fund the specialized work of ambitious free-thinkers, uses anonymous nominators and selection committees to decide who gets the grants.

Recipients, who usually do not know they are being considered unless they win, join 918 other MacArthur fellows, the group said.

Among the 2015 winners are: