2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

James Alan McPherson

April 19-20, 2004

Bio

James Alan McPherson James Alan McPherson is among the most revered authors living and writing in the United States. He spent his early career writing short stories and essays, almost without exception, for The Atlantic. At the age of 35, McPherson received a Pulitzer Prize for his collection of stories, Elbow Room (1978); he was the first African-American writer to receive the award. He is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1973) and the MacArthur Foundation Award (the so-called "Genius Award"; 1981) and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995. He is perhaps most often quoted for propounding this philosophy of American citizenship: "I believe that if one can experience diversity, touch a variety of its people, laugh at its craziness, distill wisdom from its tragedies, and attempt to synthesize all this inside oneself without going crazy, one will have earned the right to call oneself 'citizen of the United States.'"