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October 1, 2009

UW poet named MacArthur Fellow

News and Information

Heather McHugh, Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence in the Creative Writing Program of the English Department of the University of Washington, has been named a 2009 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

MacArthur Fellows receive so-called “genius grants” of $500,000 that are bestowed with no conditions; recipients may use the money as they see fit. Recipients are nominated anonymously by leaders in their respective fields and are never notified of their candidacy. The grants recognize talented individuals in a variety of fields “who have shown exceptional originality and dedication to their creative pursuits,” according to the foundation.

McHugh joined the UW faculty in 1984. Her books of poetry include Eyeshot (2003), which was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and The Father of the Predicaments (1999). Another book, Hinge & Sign: Poems 1968-1993 (1994), won the Boston Book Review’s Bingham Poetry Prize and the Pollack-Harvard Review Prize. It was also a finalist for the National Book Award and named a “notable Book of the Year” by The New York Times Book Review. McHugh is also known for her translations, including Glottal Stop: 101 Poems of Paul Celan, which she translated from the German with her husband, Nikolai Popov.

McHugh’s other awards include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Griffin Prize for Poetry and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2007 she was among the first recipients of a United States Artists Fellowship.

This brings to four the number of MacArthur Fellows in the UW Creative Writing Program. Previous recipients include Professor Charles Johnson, Professor Richard Kenney, and Professor Linda Bierds. Overall, the UW has had 12 MacArthur Fellows.

More information about the MacArthur Fellows program is at www.macfound.org.