Okay, I heard it first from David Palumbo-Liu on Sunday night. He made a Facebook post that Junot Díaz had won the MacArthur “Genius” grant. I asked him where he got the info. He pulled the post – source unreliable, he said, he couldn’t be sure it was true.
It began leaking elsewhere. According to the Los Angeles Times:
On Monday, news of who would be named the 2012 MacArthur Fellows leaked out early in reports by the Associated Press and elsewhere. Two writers are among the 23 artists, scientists and thinkers on the list: Junot Díaz and Dinaw Mengestu.
However it leaked, whoever knew it first, I didn’t want to let the day pass without saying how very chuffed I am that the 43-year-old author of the Pulitzer prizewinning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and, last month, the short story collection This Is How You Lose Her will receive a no-strings-attached “genius grant” of $500,000. All MacArthur Fellows are awarded $100,000 a year for five years.
Díaz was understandably pleased, according to the New York Observer. “I was so fucking stunned,” is how he expressed it.
“It’s like finding the fucking golden ticket,” Mr. Diaz said. “It’s like finding an extra bedroom in your New York studio apartment.”
He said he’s going to use the money for writing his “crazy monster book.”
It’s not surprising David learned the truth from … somewhere. Díaz himself learned of the award on September 12 – one day after he began the book tour for his news. Is he the source of the leak?
“Some motherfucker leaked it,” said Mr. Díaz. “Not me. I’m still convinced they’ll take it away from me.”