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We think it’s safe to say that 2012 is a great year for Junot Diaz.

He just released his third book to critical acclaim (and outright gratitude from the readers who wait years for new material). Now he can add being a MacArthur “genius” to his list of accomplishments.

Each year, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awards “genius grants” to individuals whose creativity and potential lends themselves to an investment in their future work. Each MacArthur Fellow (the formal name of the awards) receives $500,000 ($100,000 each year, spread over five years) to spend as they wish, in the pursuit of a new project.

Diaz was surprised with the award last month in Chicago and once the award was made public he wrote on his Facebook page to show his gratitude:

“Thanks to everyone who wrote a letter to make this happen. Thanks to all the teachers and librarians and booksellers who kept me in circulation through the long silences. Thanks to the beautiful readers who did the same. This honor belongs to my community, whose sacrifices and courage and yes genius made me possible. Gratitude without end.”

Diaz joins other Anisfield-Wolf award winners who have also been named MacArthur Fellow, including Annette Gordon-Reed, Arnold Rampersad, William Julius Wilson, and John Edgar Wideman.

Please join us in congratulating him on a job well done!