On Monday, news of who would be named the 2012 MacArthur Fellows leaked out early in reports by the Associated Press and elsewhere. Two writers are among the 23 artists, scientists and thinkers on the list: Junot Diaz and Dinaw Mengestu, as Carolyn Kellogg reports in this article for The Los Angeles Times.
Diaz is the author of, most recently, the short story collection “This Is How You Lose Her,” published in September. Mengestu’s most recent work is the 2010 novel “How to Read the Air.” Both are published by Riverhead.
Each author will receive a no-strings-attached “genius grant” of $500,000. All MacArthur Fellows are awarded $100,000 a year for five years.
Although the two writers will receive the same awards, they are at different places in their careers. After publishing the well-regarded short story collection “Drown,” Diaz worked for about a decade on his first novel. “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” made a splash and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
Mengestu has not yet achieved the same level of name recognition. That’s despite the fact that his work has been recognized for its excellence; his debut, “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears,” won the L.A. Times Book Prize for first fiction in 2007, and he was named one of the New Yorker’s 20 under 40 in 2010.
Congratulations to both authors. The complete list of MacArthur Fellows was reported by the Associated Press.