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Photo credit: Sigrid Estrada

Richard McCann

Professor Department of Literature

Professor McCann is the author, most recently, of Mother of Sorrows (Vintage, 2006), a collection of linked stories that Michael Cunningham has described as 'almost unbearably beautiful'; He is also the author of Ghost Letters (1994 Beatrice Hawley Award, 1994 Capricorn Poetry Award), a collection of poems, and the editor (with Michael Klein) of Things Shaped in Passing: More 'Poets for Life' Writing from the Aids Pandemic. His worked has appeared in such magazines as The Atlantic, Esquire, Ms., and Tin House, and in numerous anthologies, including The O. Henry Prize Stories 2007 and Best American Essays 2000. For his work, he has received awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, The MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. McCann, who was named the 2005 AU Scholar-Teacher of the Year, serves on the Board of Trustees of the Fine Arts Work Center and the Board of Directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. For more information, please visit his Web site.


PhD, American Studies University of Iowa
MA, American Studies, University of Iowa
MA, Creative Writing and Modern Literature, Hollins College
BA, English, Virginia Commmonwealth University

Favorite Spot on Campus
Katzen Arts Center
Languages Spoken
Conversational German; elementary French and Swedish

Download Resume (PDF)

CAS - Literature
Battelle Tompkins - 229
Weds, 12:00-1:00 p.m; Thurs, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Contact Info
(202) 885-2978 (Office)

Send email to Richard McCann

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Richard McCann's website
MFA Program in Creative Writing
Literature Department
Corporation of Yaddo
PEN/Faulkner Foundation

Partnerships & Affiliations

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • O. Henry Prize Story Award (for "The Diarist"), 2007
  • John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 2005-2006
  • AU Presidential Research Fellowship, 2005-2006
  • American University Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award, 2005
  • John C. Zacharis Book Prize (for Mother of Sorrows), 2006
  • ALA Stonewall Honor Book Award (for Mother of Sorrows), 2006
  • Finalist, Lambda Literary Award, 2006
  • Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, 2005-2009
  • D.C. Commission on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship:  2002, 2000, 1998, 1995, 1991
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1995
  • Capricorn Poetry Award (for Ghost Letters), 1994
  • Beatrice Hawley Book Award (for Ghost Letters)
  • Stanley Kunitz Fellow, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, 1993
  • Fulbright Senior Fellowship, Göteborgs Univesitet, Sweden, 1982-83
  • Rockefeller Fellowship in American Film/American Civilization, University of Iowa, 1974-76

Selected Publications

  • Mother of Sorrows.  NY:  Pantheon Books, 2005. 

     Paperback edition: Vintage Books, 2006   


     French edition: La mére des chagrins, Édition-des-Deux Terres (Paris), 2006


     Italian edition: La madre di tutti i doloir, Playbround Libri (Rome), 2007

  • Things Shaped in Passing:  More 'Poets for Life' Writing from the AIDS Pandemic.  Ed. with Michael   

     Klein.  New York;  Persea Books, 1997.

  • Ghost Letters.  Farmington, Maine:  1994
  • Nights of 1990.  Harrisburg:  Warm Spring Press, 1994
  • Dream of the Traveler.  Ithaca, NY:  Ithaca House, 1976


  • Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyra Beach, FL, May-June 2010
  • Numerous residency fellowships between 1984 and 2009 at Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Blue Montain Center, and the DJerassi Foundation.

AU Expert

Area of Expertise:

Creative writing (fiction and memoir); artist colonies; arts funding; organ (liver) transplantation; ethical issues and patient perspective; homosexuality and literature; AIDS and literature

Additional Information:

Richard McCann has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship as well as Fulbright and Rockefeller fellowships. He is the author of Mother of Sorrows (Pantheon Books, 2005), an award-winning collection of linked stories, and Ghost Letters (Alice James Books, 1994), a collection of poems, and the coeditor of Things Shaped in Passing: More "Poets for Life" Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (Persea Books, 1997).His stories, memoirs, and poems have appeared in such magazines as the Atlantic, Ms.,and Esquireand in numerous anthologies, including Best American Essays 2000 and The O. Henry Prize Stories 2007. He is on the board of directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and is a member of the Corporation of Yaddo. He is currently working on a memoir of his experience as a liver transplant recipient.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.