Authors Donald Antrim and Karen Russell were among the 24 creators and thinkers picked as MacArthur Fellows for 2013. These “genius grant” recipients will be the first class of fellows to receive a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend (compared to the previous $500,000 stipend).

The foundation published glowing biographies of the two writers. They cited  Donald Antrim‘s reputation as a “writer’s writer” who “has yet to achieve major commercial success.” Here’s more:

He is a professor at Columbia who is deeply committed to his students, and he is currently working on a new novel and collection of short stories. His style is highly contradictory — at once absurd but relatable, free but structured, romantic but realistic, funny but sad. His unusual style blends tightly controlled prose with comic absurdity and surreal events.

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