Three Writers Win MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grants


Amidst all the bad news afflicting writers these days, especially good writers (not Dan Brown), it’s refreshing to see that an organization of smart, cultured rich people has an uncanny tendency to acknowledge the hard work that good writers are actually doing.

And to bestow heaps of money on them as a reward.

From Jacket Copy, this week, I learned that three esteemed writers of diverse backgrounds and equally diverse portfolios have won the $500,000 grants: Edwidge Danticat, Deborah Eisenberg, and Heather McHugh.

What’s pleasantly surprising, besides the fact that all three are women, is that two of them are masters of the short-story form (Danticat and Eisenberg) and the third, McCugh is a poet who is also a translator (of among other things, the notoriously difficult poetry of the German Paul Celan). Danticat, as well, has written a memoir and an espisodic novel. Eisenberg has written four collections of short stories.

Which means that a few people with all lot of money still give a damn about short stories and poetry.

Michael Berger is a barely-published writer and book-seller living in San Francisco. He is one of the founding Corsairs of the Iron Garters Bike Club and is currently pursuing a degree in applied pataphysics. He sometimes eats oatmeal for dinner. More from this author →