Jonathan Lethem wins MacArthur Genius Grant

September 19, 2005

It’ll be in tomorrow’s papers and on most Web sites tonight at midnight but a couple of foreign papers have posted their stories early: Jonathan Lethem has been awarded a genius grant worth $500,000. I’ll update this post tomorrow with more details once all the winners are officially announced.

Update: Well. Not much to report. Usually there’s three or four literary-related Macarthur Fellows, but this year there are just two, Terry Belanger, a rare book preservationist from the University of Virginia, and Lethem. Here’s the only Lethem quote about his windfall that I could find so far (from the NY Daily News): “‘You probably ought to check in with me in six months,’ he said. ‘I think I can safely say it’s going to give me a lot of the security and freedom that any artist craves.'” I’m sure that he will be compelled to discuss his plans at length sooner than that, and I’m sure other folks will be weighing in on the meaning of this honor for Lethem soon enough, as well.

created and edits The Millions. He is co-editor of the collection of essays The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, called "funny, poignant, relentlessly thought-provoking" by The Atlantic. He and his family live in New Jersey. If you'd like to correspond, please don't hesitate to email.

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