Charles Johnson is an American scholar and the author of novels, short stories, screenplays, and essays, most of which have a philosophical orientation. Johnson has directly addressed the issues of black life in America in novels such as Dreamer and Middle Passage. Middle Passage won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1990, making Johnson the second black American male writer to receive this prize after Ralph Ellison in 1953. Johnson received a MacArthur Fellowship or “Genius Grant” in 1998. He is also the recipient of National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Fellowships and many other prizes, such as a 2002 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his most recent award is the 2013 Humanities Washington Award for creating and contributing for fifteen years a new, original short story to a literary event called “Bedtime Stories,” which since 1998 has raised a million dollars for the literacy programs of the nonprofit organization Humanities Washington.