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Pine Manor College’s Solstice MFA Program Consulting Writer Jacqueline Woodson Awarded MacArthur Fellowship

CHESTNUT HILL, MA—Oct. 8, 2020—Pine Manor College’s Solstice MFA Program congratulates its founding consulting writer Jacqueline Woodson on her MacArthur Fellowship, awarded this week.

Cited for “Redefining children’s and young adult literature to encompass more complex issues and reflect the lives of Black children, teenagers, and families,” Ms. Woodson is one of five writers of color that make up the MacArthur “class of 2020.”

Ms. Woodson has underwritten the Solstice Fellowship for A Young People’s Writer of African or Caribbean Descent since the program’s founding in 2006. “Jacqueline Woodson has always been a person who supports fellow writers, especially those just starting out. She’s also long been recognized as an incredibly talented writer who, from her earliest novels back in the 1990s, has been carving a path on the page for previously unheard, unseen young people,” said Solstice Founding Director Meg Kearney. “All of us at the Solstice MFA Program are beyond happy to know that a real investment has been made in Jackie and her work, which will make it possible for her to focus both on her writing and her family.”

“On behalf of the Pine Manor College community, I am honored to congratulate Jacqueline on this well-deserved recognition from the MacArthur Foundation,” said President of Pine Manor College Thomas M. O’Reilly. In 2008, recognized for her work promoting diverse voices in literature, Ms. Woodson also received an honorary degree from Pine Manor College. “As a recipient of the College’s highest honor, Ms. Woodson has actively and passionately contributed to Pine Manor College’s mission and ongoing racial and social justice work for many years. I am thrilled that through this outstanding recognition, this shared mission is amplified.”

Jacqueline Woodson is author of numerous books for children and young adults, including the 2014 National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming and the Newbery Honor books After Tupac D Foster, Show Way, and Feathers. Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, her novel Miracle’s Boys was made into a television miniseries, directed by—among others—Spike Lee. She just completed writing the screen play to her 2019 novel for adults, Red to the Bone.

The annual MacArthur Fellowships, also known as “genius grants,” are awarded to “extraordinarily talented and creative individuals” with no strings attached. At $625,000 each, the Fellowships are seen as an investment in the futures of myriad types of talented people, including writers, scientists, teachers, and entrepreneurs.

This award marks the second Solstice MFA Program writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship; its writer-in-residence Terrance Hayes received a grant in 2014.


As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for social justice and real cultural change.


Quintin Collins
Assistant Director, Solstice MFA Program
Pine Manor College

Efrat Zinnar-Shavit
Director of Media and Publications
Pine Manor College