Meet This Year's 'Genius' Grant Winners
2013 MacArthur fellows include author Karen Russell, dancer Kyle Abraham
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2013 6:38 AM CDT
Fiction writer Karen Russell poses for a portrait in New York.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

(Newser) – The MacArthur Foundation "genius" grants have risen from $500,000 to $625,000 this year, but for recipient Karen Russell, the real prize is time. The author wrote her Pulitzer-nominated debut novel, Swamplandia!, while working part time at a vet clinic, reports the AP, and has been traveling from city to city taking writing gigs at universities to support herself since, adds the New York Times. Now she can write full time, and stay in one place. "Just the idea of having a stretch of time where you can commit your time wholeheartedly to a project, nobody gets that," says Russell, per the AP.

The $625,000 stipend is paid out over five years, and can be used in any way the winners (there are 24 of them) see fit. Dancer-choreographer Kyle Abraham, 36, who has in the past had to rely on food stamps to get by, says the money will help him pay his dancers and rent, the Times reports. Attorney Margaret Stock, 51, says the money will help continue her work advocating for US military personnel and their families who are facing immigration issues, reports the AP. Other 2013 recipients include a medieval historian, an astrophysicist, a paleobotanist, a jazz pianist, an experimental physicist, and a statistician. The AP has a full list of names.

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Showing 3 of 24 comments
Sep 25, 2013 10:22 PM CDT
Refreshing to see a modern dance choreographer receive this award. Kyle Abraham is a brilliant artist and humble human who works his butt off on his craft. His works are poignant, raw and stunning reflections of the human experience. Check out his work sometime.
Sep 25, 2013 5:43 PM CDT
I find it interesting that some posters are referring to artists such as dancers and writers as "hobbyists." My dad sang for the Metropolitan Opera for 18 years. I suppose that was a hobby, too?
Sep 25, 2013 12:23 PM CDT
Writers, dancers, and similar hobbyists get GENIUS grants ? OK And we wonder why kids are getting stupider.........