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We're Still Waiting for Our Call ...

By Laura Oppenheimer in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 25, 2007 1:32PM

But Northwestern Writer-in-Residence Stuart Dybek isn't. The lucky Pilsen native received "the call" yesterday informing him that he was named a 2007 MacArthur Fellow, aka "genius grant" recipient; the fellowship comes with a $500,000 prize that Dybek can use for whatever he likes, no strings attached.

2007_9_dybek.jpg"I think 'stunned' is not too strong a word to use. It came so out of the blue," Dybek told the Trib. "They do this stuff with such perfect stealth. Nobody tells you that you're being considered." Indeed they don't. One of the fascinating aspects of the fellowship is the secrecy in which people are first nominated, and then selected.

Dybek is the author I Sailed With Magellan and The Coast of Chicago, which was chosen for the "One Book, One Chicago" program in 2004. Dybek said he will use the money to help finish up three books he is working on simultaneously.

A complete list of this year's 24 genius-grant winners can be found here. Reading about all the completely talented people who won the award this year made us think if there are any other Chicago natives who would be worthy recipients. If we take the academics out of contention, the people who came to mind are few and far between. But if Ron Huberman can get the Blue and Brown lines up and running and get the state to bail us out, we might give him the nod for next year.

Who else in the city do you think deserves a "genius grant"?