Best Idaho-Born 'Genius'

Samuel D. Hunter, playwright

Staff Pick

He was born in Moscow, schooled in New York and Iowa, has written about Boise, and on Sept. 17 he became a "genius." Samuel D. Hunter, who won an Obie Award for his play A Bright New Boise and wowed national audiences with The Whale, received one of the most coveted and mysterious distinctions in the United States: membership in the MacArthur Foundation Fellows Program. Known as a "genius grant," selection is anonymous, made by nomination and carries with it a no-strings-attached $625,000 cash prize. In other words, MacArthur Fellows are simply given the money to keep doing whatever amazing thing they've been doing. Now living in New York, Hunter, 33, told the Washington Post that hearing he'd won a genius grant felt "so mythic. Somebody calls you out of the blue, and they tell you this thing. It's like winning the lottery."

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