James Alan McPherson

James Alan McPherson is a nationally renowned author. In 1978 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his short story collection, Elbow Room, becoming the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Currently, McPherson is a permanent faculty member at the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Pulitzer Prize recipients are among the elite in their class.  Receiving a Pulitzer Prize places writers in a prestigious category that many aspire for. As I searched for blogs about James Alan McPherson I found a variety of blogs discussing his professional work. Although these blogs merely state various Pulitzer Prize winners, they also discuss how McPherson has added to the world of fiction writing and to the world of African-American Literature. Additionally, these blogs (which were found on Google Groups, seem credible because people stated their sources).

As a student at the University of Iowa, it is an honor to be surrounded by a variety of highly professional educators. Sadly, I feel that many students, faculty members, alumni, and community members do not acknowledge or realize the the professors at the University who have accomplished a great deal regarding their professional lives. Besides winning a Pulitzer Prize for Elbow Room, McPherson has written seven-short story anthologies, appeared in a variety of different journals and magazines and was the  recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship in 1981. Because, James McPherson is currently a professor at the University of Iowa, finding current blog posts and online discussion groups are difficult to locate. However, I was able to find a Facebook page that provided a small biography and gives fans the opportunity to be “friends.” (I would like to note that this is not his personal Facebook page. I am unaware if he even has a private Facebook page). I realize that Facebook may not be the most credible source, however I think that reading what his “fans” have written and how they are impacted by his stories and career, is an important aspect of what makes McPherson such a compelling and historic author.

I decided to select James Alan McPherson because he is an extraordinary fiction writer and he is an incredible resource at the University of Iowa. Currently, I am a work-study student at the Writers’ Workshop and have been for the past three years. I have seen first-hand how many individuals, from all over the world, recognize and respect his work. Additionally, I have seen how his presence here at the University has drawn a variety of different writers to apply to the MFA programs and to want to work one-on-one with him. I picked these sources because they seemed like credible sources. The blog discussing his professional work was followed by a number of people. Although it may not be a great deal of people, finding blogs about an author, especially one that has not written in quite some time, is difficult to do. For information about this background I chose the New Georgia Encyclopedia website. I chose this site because it was a .org, which from what we learned in class and in our readings raises its credibility.


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