Best Genius

Dinaw Mengestu
In March, Dinaw Mengestu landed a spot in one of the last pieces of prime real estate in book commentary: The cover of the New York Times Book Review featured his third novel, All Our Names. The review was the latest highlight in Mengestu’s brief but accomplished career. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Illinois, he attended Georgetown, and D.C. informs his 2007 debut, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, a smart and informed portrait of Logan Circle before the boom. Now teaching at Georgetown, he continues to explore the intersection of African and U.S. cultures with the smarts and seriousness that earned him a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2012.