James Alan McPherson

A black and white image of a black man looking at the ground

James Alan McPherson was born in 1943, in Savannah, Georgia. His first story publication, “Gold Coast,” was published in 1968 byThe Atlantic Monthly. The following year, he published his first collection, Hue and Cry. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972, and became the first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize, for his second collection, Elbow Room. McPherson taught in a number of schools, including the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Virginia, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In 1981, he was awarded one of the first MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grants. McPherson served as a Ploughshares trustee, a panelist for the Whiting Foundation, and a contributing editor for Doubletake. He published Crabcakes, a memoir, in 1996 and A Region Not Home: Reflections from Exile, a collection of essays, in 2000. He was awarded a Lannan Literary Fellowship in 2002 and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995.

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