Emily Wilson Receives MacArthur "Genius Grant"

Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson, Professor of Classical Studies,  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 says.  

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

“Emily Wilson is an incredible creator and educator,” says 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.”

“I’m thrilled to congratulate Emily on this well-deserved honor,” says Steven J. Fluharty, Dean and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience. “It is a testament to her skill and craft that her translation made the “Odyssey” fresh and relevant for readers around the world. All of us at Penn Arts & Sciences are lucky to count her as a colleague and a teacher.”

Read the full announcement

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