24 'Geniuses' Just Won $625,000 To Spend However They Want

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Karen Russell

MacArthur Fellowship

Karen Russell, 32, is a fiction writer in New York City and among the 24 MacArthur Fellows of 2013.

The names of 24 MacArthur Fellows were revealed at midnight on Wednesday, bestowing recipients with a gift of $625,000, paid over five years, to be spent anyway they choose. 

The so-called "genius awards" from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have been handed out to around two dozen creative and talented Americans from all different fields every year since 1981. 

The no-strings-attached money is intended to give recipients the freedom to pursue new ideas or move forward with their current work.  

No one can apply for the awards. The fellows are chosen by an anonymous panel of experts, who inform the winners through a telephone call just a couple days before the official announcement. 

This year, the fellows range in age from 32 to 60. There are several artists including a concert pianist, a playwright, and a choreographer of classical ballet. The other fellows include an organic chemist, a medieval historian, a behavioral economist, and an immigration lawyer. 

You can see the full list of fellows at the MacArthur website



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