Wednesday, September 26
This week writer Stuart Dybek was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship as well as the Rea Award for "originality and influence" on the short story. Dybek is a 1973 graduate of the Writers' Workshop; he has also taught for the program as a visiting professor.
MacArthur Fellowships are awarded to nominees selected for their creativity, originality and the potential to make important contributions in the future. Each Fellowship comes with $500,000, no strings attached, designed to provide support for the recipient's work over the next five years.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Dybek said that the MacArthur Fellowship will allow him time to finish a number of books currently in progress: "For me, it couldn't have been more fortuitous, more serendipitous. 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."
The Rea Award for the Short Story, granted by the Dungannon Foundation, is unique in that it is not given for a collection of stories or for a body of work, but rather for an author's impact on the genre. Grace Paley, Richard Ford, Andre Dubus, and Alice Munro are among the award's past winners. "With three distinguished collections of short stories, Stuart Dybek has created his own country," said a statement from Rea judges on Tuesday. "The Coast of Chicago is his landscape, one he has inhabited, pondered, remembered and made hauntingly real."
Nurturing Creativity: 2007 MacArthur Fellows, MacArthur Foundation website
Profile of Stuart Dybek at MacArthur Foundation website
Stuart Dybek Wins Short Story Prize, The Associated Press, 9/26/2007
Chicago Writer Wins Genius Grant, Chicago Sun-Times, 9/25/2007
If I Vanished, short story by Stuart Dybek, The New Yorker, 7/9/2007