Around Cal

Berkeley Magazine, Fall 1998


In June, Berkeley's "genius" count -- that is, the number of its MacArthur Fellows -- went up to 23. Ishmael Reed, a lecturer in the English Department, became one of 29 national recipients of a 1998 MacArthur Foundation "genius" fellowship. Reed will receive $355,000 over the next five years.

Reed, 60, is a poet, novelist, essayist and playwright who has taught at Berkeley since 1968. The author of nine novels, several books of essays and volumes of poems, Reed is considered a driving force behind the publication of writers with multi-ethnic perspectives. His novels include "The Last Days of Louisiana Red," "The Terrible Twos" and "Mumbo Jumbo."

Jeffrey D. Knapp, chair of Berkeley's English Department, said Reed "is an enormously charismatic and effective teacher. He is probably our most productive faculty member. This award is richly deserved."

Ishmael Reed

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