Jonathan Lethem, a celebrated writer and essayist, was recently selected as a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, commonly known as a "genius grant." He will be reading a new short story entitled "Interview with the Crab."
Lethem has published six novels, including The Fortress of Solitude (2003), Motherless Brooklyn (1999), for which he won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and Gun, with Occasional Music (1994) . Recently he published a collection of stories, Men and Cartoons (2004), and a collection of essays, The Disappointment Artist (2005).
Lethem crosses genres in his writing, shifting between mysteries, westerns, science fiction, noir, and autobiography. In his most recent work, he has turned attention to his hometown, locating his stories and essays in Brooklyn. Salon identifies Lethem as “the new poet of Brooklyn—the new Whitman, even, whose bold imagination and sheer love of words defy all forms and expectations and place him among this country’s foremost novelists.” He “bends the rules, pushes the envelope and extends the possibilities of fiction” and is “defiant, delicious, in his refusal to be pinned.” Reviewing The Disappointment Artist , essayist Phillip Lopate commends Lethem for writing “a collection as warmly engaging as it is ruminative” and for showing “himself to be as much a master of the personal essay as he is of contemporary fiction.”
Lethem’s short stories and essays have appeared in many periodicals, including The New Yorker , McSweeney’s , Granta , Harper’s , and Rolling Stone. He lives in Brooklyn.