We’ve always thought Junot Diaz was a genius, and now there is objective proof: the author of Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is one of 23 men and women to receive a MacArthur fellowship (popularly known as a “Genius Grant”) this year. The grants – awards of $500,000 paid out to fellows over five years – are so-called because there is no application; they are simply awarded to people who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.” There are also no requirements for what fellows must with the money. In other words the Foundation basically says “You are a genius and we want you to keep doing you.”
We gotta say, they made a good choice. In the age of 140 characters and social media attention spans, who else but Junot can inspire a near riot of eager fans at a book reading?