Rebecca McClanahan

Nonfiction, Poetry

  • Biography


Rebecca McClanahan’s eleventh book, In the Key of New York City: A Memoir in Essays, was published in 2020. Her work has appeared in Best American EssaysBest American PoetryGeorgia ReviewGettysburg ReviewKenyon ReviewBoulevardThe Sun, and in anthologies published by Simon & Schuster, Beacon, Norton, and Bedford/St. Martin, among others.  Recipient of two Pushcart prizes, the Glasgow Award in Nonfiction, the Wood Prize from Poetry Magazine, the Carter Prize for the Essay, and the N.C. Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, McClanahan teaches in the MFA programs of Rainier Writing Workshop and Queens University.  She can be reached at

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.”