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Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:20 pm
Stuart Dybek Is a Genius
Posted by: Keir Graff

Speaking of geniuses, beloved Chicago author Stuart Dybek (I Sailed with Magellan, 2003) was just called a genius, too–and this high praise has even higher financial rewards than the Frank O’Connor (rich though that award may be): he’s been named a 2007 MacArthur Fellow, with a cushy payout of a cool half mil over five years. In the Chicago Tribune (“Stuart Dybek: We knew he was a genius all along“), Robert K. Elder reports that Dybek first thought he was hearing bad news:

Author and poet Stuart Dybek expected the worst when the voice on the phone suggested he sit down.

“Oh my God,” Dybek said, bracing for impact.

And what will he use the money for–a down payment on his own Branson theater? A life-size, animatronic replica of himself to perform his readings? A room-sized closet for his enormous collection of patched-elbow corduroy jackets? Disappointingly, no:

Dybek will use the money to “buy time” and finish a few books.

“For me, it couldn’t have been more fortuitous, more serendipitous,” Dybek said. “For the last 10 years, I’ve been working on three different manuscripts … and it’s getting kind of crowded in my head. It’s like walking around pregnant all the time. Nevermind the pains of childbirth, you just want to get it over with so you can resume your human shape.”

Well, it’s his money.

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