CHICAGO — A juggler and a wildlife illustrator are among the 36 recipients of this year's MacArthur fellowships, grants of up to $375,000 that winners may spend as they choose.
Several poets, literary critics and academicians, including Stanford University population studies professor Paul Ehrlich, are among this year's winners, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced Monday.
Three other Californians were among the grant recipients. They are: M. A. R. Koehl, a UC Berkeley biology professor, Michael S. Schudson of La Jolla, a University of California professor of sociology and communication, and Gregory Vlastos, a retired UC Berkeley philosophy professor.
All will receive grants ranging from $150,000 to $375,000 over five years. The largest grants go to the oldest recipients, and there are no research requirements or restrictions on winners.
"It's very liberating, and it's also a great honor," essayist and critic Susan Sontag said of her $340,000 grant.
Individuals cannot apply for the grants. Candidates must be proposed by a group of more than 100 designated nominators nationwide.
"The idea is they can set their own agendas without having to work on somebody else's agenda," said Ken Hope, the MacArthur Fellows program director.
The only requirements for being a contender, he said, are receiving a nomination and showing "creativity and promise."
"I never dreamed they'd give it to a bird artist, which is what I am," said Guy Tudor, a 55-year-old free-lance illustrator of field guides to Neotropical birds.