New MacArthur ‘genius’ class includes three writers


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The MacArthur Foundation has named two dozen new fellows in a variety of fields, including mathematics, science, medicine art and literature. The ‘genius’ grants don’t award a specific work or, necessarily, a completed achievement; rather, they tend to be awarded to people who are in the middle of a trajectory of accomplishment.

Three authors will receive the $500,000 grants this round. Edwidge Danticat, author of ‘Brother, I’m Dying,’ a memoir centered around her uncle’s death, told the Miami Herald, ‘I am extremely grateful. I am still wrapping my brain around it, trying to see how I can do it justice.’’


Poet Heather McHugh, who has been shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize and is author of ‘Eyeshot’ (2004), took the news in stride. ‘I bought a pair of good walking shoes, a whole bag of used clothing at Value Village [thrift store],’ she told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer via e-mail Monday night, ‘and a good gag (they told me to say nothing until tomorrow).’

Short-story writer Deborah Eisenberg, 63, is the author of the 2006 collection ‘Twilight of the Superheroes.’ She told the New York Daily News that she couldn’t quite believe it yet. ‘It didn’t sound like a prank, but it’s so impossible that you can’t quite comprehend it all at any given moment.’

-- Carolyn Kellogg