Classical studies professor Emily Wilson receives MacArthur ‘genius grant’

October 1, 2019

Emily Wilson, classical studies professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named a 2019 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 

Wilson has received attention worldwide as the first woman to publish an English translation of Homer’s epic poem the “Odyssey.” She is currently working on a translation of the other Homeric poem, the “Iliad.”

“So far, one of my main hopes is just that the publicity surrounding the award will do something to bring more U.S. public attention to issues of translation, literary and poetic form, and cultural and historical difference and also, I hope, inspire more young people to engage creatively and critically with pre-modern cultures,” Wilson said yesterday. 

The MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius grant,” is a $625,000 award with no restrictions, and is “intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations,” the Foundation said. 

“Emily Wilson is an incredible creator and educator,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “She’s worked tirelessly to translate the ‘Odyssey’ like never before, bringing a fresh perspective to the ancient epic poem. I am so pleased to congratulate her on this honor. She couldn’t be more deserving. We look forward to her future work and the scholarship she shares with our students.”

Read more at Penn Today.