Rebecca McClanahan

Nonfiction, Poetry

  • Biography


Rebecca McClanahan’s most recent books are The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change and a new edition of Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively.  She has also published five books of poetry, two additional books of writing instruction, and The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings, winner of the Glasgow Award in nonfiction.  McClanahan’s work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Sun, and numerous anthologies.  McClanahan, who received the Wood Prize from Poetry, a Pushcart Prize in Fiction, the Carter Prize for the Essay, and literary fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, was the 2015 Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University.

Mentor. Workshops and classes in nonfiction and poetry.

Statement: “In my workshops, I am not interested in ‘fixing’ so-called flawed texts; fixing is the work of morticians. I am interested in helping writers discover what their drafts want to be when they grow up. How do we locate the essay hiding within the messay, the memoir stalled on a ME-more track, the poem trying to sing its way out of the journal’s pages? Our task as writers is not only to pay attention to our world but also to use the materials of the world in extraordinary ways. To do this, we must uncover the subtle design, the ‘figure in the carpet’ that is woven into even the most everyday events. Often we must proceed without knowing what form the work will finally take. We write our way into the question, into the mystery. Writing begets more writing; meaning grows on the page.”