James Alan McPherson

James McPhersonMcPherson, James Alan
James Alan McPherson (September 16, 1943 – July 27, 2016) was an American essayist and short-story writer.wikipedia
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Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Pulitzer PrizeFictionPulitzer Prize for the Novel
He was the first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and was included among the first group of artists who received a MacArthur Fellowship.

Iowa Writers' Workshop

Iowa Writers WorkshopIowa Writer's WorkshopIowa Writers’ Workshop
At the time of his death, McPherson was a professor emeritus of fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Morris Brown College

Morris BrownMorris Brown UniversityMorris Brown Wolverines
He attended Morgan State University from 1963 to 1964 before receiving his undergraduate degree in history and English from Morris Brown College in 1965.

Elbow Room (short story collection)

Elbow RoomElbow Room'' (short story collection)
Following the publication of Elbow Room (his final collection of fiction) in 1977, McPherson primarily focused on his teaching career, with the Chicago Tribune characterizing him as being "only slightly more gregarious than J.D. Salinger."
Elbow Room: Stories is a 1977 short story collection by American author James Alan McPherson.

MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur FellowshipMacArthur FellowMacArthur Fellows
He was the first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and was included among the first group of artists who received a MacArthur Fellowship.

African Americans

African AmericanAfrican-Americanblack
He was the first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and was included among the first group of artists who received a MacArthur Fellowship.

Emeritus

professor emeritusEmeritus Professorprofessor emerita
At the time of his death, McPherson was a professor emeritus of fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Savannah, Georgia

SavannahSavannah, GAConnect Savannah
McPherson was born in Savannah, Georgia, on September 16, 1943, the second of four children.

Master electrician

His father was a master electrician (the first African-American so recognized in Georgia), and his mother (born Mabel Small) was a maid.

Morgan State University

Morgan State CollegeMorgan StateMorgan College
He attended Morgan State University from 1963 to 1964 before receiving his undergraduate degree in history and English from Morris Brown College in 1965.

Bachelor of Laws

LL.B.LLBLL.B
In 1968, McPherson received a LL.B. from Harvard Law School, where he partially financed his studies by working as a janitor.

Harvard Law School

Harvard LawHarvardHarvard University Law School
In 1968, McPherson received a LL.B. from Harvard Law School, where he partially financed his studies by working as a janitor.

The Atlantic

The Atlantic MonthlyAtlantic MonthlyAtlantic
It was the publication of his short story "Gold Coast" in The Atlantic Monthly, following an "open reading" competition they had sponsored, that first brought him public recognition.

The Best American Series

Best American seriesBest AmericanBest American Short Stories
Many of his stories were anthologized, beginning with "Gold Coast" when it appeared in The Best American Stories in 1969.

Master of Fine Arts

MFAM.F.A.Masters of Fine Arts
In 1971, he received an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he studied briefly with the short-story writer and novelist Richard Yates.

Richard Yates (novelist)

Richard YatesThe Collected Stories of Richard Yates
In 1971, he received an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he studied briefly with the short-story writer and novelist Richard Yates.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehesi Coates
In a 1972 Atlantic Monthly essay, he exposed exploitative business practices against black homeowners, presaging the later work of Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Ralph Ellison

Ralph Waldo EllisonEllison, RalphEllison
During this period in his life, he gained the attention of Ralph Ellison (1913–1994), who became both a friend and mentor to the young McPherson.

Juneteenth (novel)

JuneteenthJuneteenth'' (novel)
This relationship with Ellison would have a lasting influence on his own life and work, as McPherson acknowledges in his essay "Gravitas," which he published in 1999 as both a tribute to the (then) recently deceased writer, and to observe the posthumous publication of Ellison's novel Juneteenth that same year.

Albert Murray (writer)

Albert MurrayAlbert L. Murray
McPherson also initiated a friendship with Albert Murray shortly after the publication of Murray's The Omni-Americans: Black Experience & American Culture (1970).

University of California, Santa Cruz

UC Santa CruzUniversity of California at Santa CruzUniversity of California Santa Cruz
McPherson taught English and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz (assistant professor; 1969–1971), the Harvard University summer school (1972), Morgan State University (assistant professor; 1975–1976) and the University of Virginia (associate professor; 1976–1981) before joining the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1981, with whom he was associated for the remainder of his life.

Harvard University

HarvardHarvard CollegeUniversity of Harvard
McPherson taught English and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz (assistant professor; 1969–1971), the Harvard University summer school (1972), Morgan State University (assistant professor; 1975–1976) and the University of Virginia (associate professor; 1976–1981) before joining the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1981, with whom he was associated for the remainder of his life.

University of Virginia

VirginiaUniversity of Virginia at CharlottesvilleThe University of Virginia
McPherson taught English and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz (assistant professor; 1969–1971), the Harvard University summer school (1972), Morgan State University (assistant professor; 1975–1976) and the University of Virginia (associate professor; 1976–1981) before joining the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1981, with whom he was associated for the remainder of his life.

Frank Conroy

Body and Soul
He served as acting director of the program for two years following the death of Frank Conroy in 2005.

Chicago Tribune

The Chicago TribuneChicago Daily TribuneChicago Sunday Tribune
Following the publication of Elbow Room (his final collection of fiction) in 1977, McPherson primarily focused on his teaching career, with the Chicago Tribune characterizing him as being "only slightly more gregarious than J.D. Salinger."