Wilson Receives “Genius Grant”

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Emily Wilson, Professor of Classical Studies

Kyle Cassidy

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.

“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.”