MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of 2010

David Simon

Author, Screenwriter, and Producer

Author, Screenwriter, and Producer

Baltimore, MD

Age: 50

Published January 25, 2010

David Simon is an author, screenwriter, and producer who draws from his background as a crime beat reporter to craft richly textured narratives that probe urban America’s most complex and poorly understood realities. Though Simon has authored a wide range of nonfiction works, both in journalism (as a Baltimore Sun reporter and freelancer) and book-length form, he is best known for his contributions to drama; he has been a screenwriter and/or producer for several critically acclaimed television series, including Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–1999), The Wire (2002–2008), and Treme (2010–). With the nuance and scope of novels, Simon’s recent series have explored the constraints that poverty, corruption, and broken social systems place on the lives of a compelling cast of characters, each vividly realized with complicated motives, frailties, and strengths. Over the course of its five seasons, The Wire presented a panoramic portrait of an American city in an era of economic decline and immersed viewers in the workings of distinct yet intricately interwoven institutions of Baltimore: the inner-city drug trade, law enforcement, the dockyards, city hall, a local newspaper, and public schools. In keeping with his interest in struggling cities and the fates of their inhabitants, Simon has set his current project, Treme, against the backdrop of post-Katrina New Orleans, as a community works to rebuild its neighborhood and culture. His portrayals are sometimes harshly critical, sometimes unexpectedly sympathetic, but always viewed through the lens of a hard-edged, cautiously optimistic realism. Through his nonfiction accounts and television dramas, Simon creates riveting stories that engage wide-ranging audiences and confront some of the most daunting challenges facing America’s urban centers.

David Simon received a B.A. (1983) from the University of Maryland, College Park. From 1983 to 1995, we was a crime reporter with the Baltimore Sun. He is the author of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (1991) and co-author of The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood (1997), and his additional television projects include the miniseries The Corner (2000) and Generation Kill (2008).

Photos

Hi-res photos for download. Photos licensed under a Creative Commons license. Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Right-click on the links below to save the file to your computer.

David Simon In the Media

"David Simon on Cities, the Police and His Next Show"  thumbnail

"David Simon on Cities, the Police and His Next Show"

Slate Magazine
David Simon, 2010 MacArthur Fellow
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"David Simon on America as a Horror Show" thumbnail

"David Simon on America as a Horror Show"

Moyers & Company
David Simon, 2010 MacArthur Fellow
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About the Fellows Program

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Learn More

Jacob Lurie, Mathematician

Class of 2014

23 New MacArthur Fellows Announced thumbnail

23 New MacArthur Fellows Announced

MacArthur today named 23 new MacArthur Fellows working across a broad spectrum of endeavors. Read More