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James Alan McPherson

James Alan McPherson was born in Savannah Georgia on September 16, 1943. He was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer for Fiction, in 1978, for his short story collection Elbow Room.

McPherson was educated at Morris Brown College, Harvard Law School, the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, and Yale Law School. He has taught English at the University of California-Santa Cruz, Harvard University, Morgan State University, and the University of Virginia, and has also lectured in Japan at Meiji University and Chiba University. McPherson is now a professor of English at the University of Iowa.

McPherson was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973, and the MacArthur Foundation Award "Genius Award" in 1981. In 1995 McPherson was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lived in Iowa City. McPherson died from complications with Pneumonia on July 17, 2016

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