The MacArthur Foundation announced today that authors Karen Russell and Donald Antrim are among the 2013 MacArthur Fellows . The five-year, no-strings-attached "genius" fellowships, which were increased  this year to $625,000 each, are given to individuals working in a variety of disciplines to pursue future work.
Karen Russell  is the author of three books of fiction, including her debut story collection St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (2006); the novel Swamplandia (2011), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and, most recently, the story collection Vampires in the Lemon Grove (2013), all published by Knopf. She was named one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 in 2009.
Donald Antrim  is the author of the novels Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World (Viking, 1993), The Hundred Brothers (Crown, 1997), and The Verificationist (Knopf, 2000), and the memoir The Afterlife (2007). He is an associate professor of writing at Columbia University in New York City.
In the following videos from the MacArthur Foundation, Russell and Antrim discuss the inspiration for their work, and what receiving the fellowships will mean for their writing and their lives.