James Alan McPherson (1943 - 2016) was born in Savannah, Georgia, and was educated at Morris Brown College, Harvard Law School, and the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. His books include Hue and Cry, Elbow Room, Crabcakes, and A Region Not Home. He wrote, “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’.”
McPherson was the first Black writer to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His other honors included fellowships from the MacArthur and Guggenheim foundations. He lived in Iowa City, where he taught at the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop.