Valeria Luiselli, 2019 MacArthur Fellow

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“My work often deals with dislocation, belonging, migration, of course, and I tend to create characters that are unnamed and not quite easy to place.” Valeria Luiselli, a 2019 MacArthur “Genius” fellowship recipient, talks about how she combines fiction and nonfiction to challenge conventional notions of authorship, and the ways in which the lives of others are documented.

Octavia E. Butler

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In this video from Open Road Media, authors Samuel R. Delany and N. K. Jemisin and literary agent Merrilee Heifetz speak about the late Octavia E. Bulter, who in 1995 became the first science fiction writer to win a “Genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation. “Her stories really weren’t about aliens.... they were about people,” says Jemisin.

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Jesmyn Ward

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“When you see yourself reflected in literature, it enlarges your ideas of what is possible for you.” MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Jesmyn Ward takes PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown on a tour of her hometown in Mississippi and shares the parts of her life and community that inspire her writing. Ward is the winner of the 2017 National Book Award in fiction for Sing, Unbured, Sing (Scribner, 2017).

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Karen Russell

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"With first drafts, the best feeling, and sort of the rarest, is when I also don't know what's going to happen.... It's a wonderful pleasure, you're writing the way a reader reads." In this video from the Chicago Humanities Festival, Karen Russell speaks with Time Out Chicago's Laura Pearson about her process. Russell shares how she found her agent Denise Shannon in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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