VCU professor and author Clint McCown inducted into Wake Forest Hall of Fame

Clint McCown, a professor in the Department of English in the College of Humanities and Sciences, was inducted into the Wake Forest University Hall of Fame on April 17 in recognition of his fiction, poetry and considerable career as a teacher of writing.

McCown is the author of four novels, five collections of poetry, and a recently released collection of short stories, and he teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Clint McCown.
Clint McCown.

The Wake Forest Writers Hall of Fame honors writers who are alumni or long associated with Wake Forest whose work has been deemed significant and lasting both regionally and nationally. McCown graduated from Wake Forest in 1974 and went on to earn a master’s from the school in 1978.

In the 185 year history of Wake Forest, 24 writers have been inducted. Among them are poet and author Maya Angelou;  two-time National Book Award winner and MacArthur Fellow A.R. Ammons; Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing winner Maria Henson;  Pulitzer Prize in Public Service winner Jo DeYoung Thomas;  legendary 1930s screenwriter Laurence Stallings; founder of the Southern Agrarian Movement W.J. Cash;  and pioneer of New Journalism and editor of Esquire Harold Hayes.

“In range and scope Clint’s writing has drawn strength from his ear for local color, his adept brevity of language, his conjunction of the everyday and the visionary,” Wake Forest said in its announcement. “From novels such as ‘Haints’ to poetry collections such as his most recent ‘The Dictionary of Unspellable Noises,’ Clint has shown the world (and his students) the tenderness and affection for humanity that resides at his core.”

In addition to “Haints” and “The Dictionary of Unspellable Noises,” McCown is the author of the novels “The Weatherman,” “War Memorials,” and “The Member-Guest,” as well as the poetry collections “Total Balance Farm,” “Dead Languages,” “Wind Over Water,” and “Sidetracks.”  His most recent book is the collection of short fiction, “Music for Hard Times: New & Selected Stories.”

Several of McCown’s plays have been produced, and he has worked as a screenwriter for Warner Bros. and as a creative consultant for HBO Television.

As a broadcast journalist he received an Associated Press Award for Documentary Excellence for his investigations of organized crime and political corruption.

He is the only writer to have twice won the American Fiction Prize; he has also received the S. Mariella Gable Prize, the Midwest Book Award, the Society of Midland Authors Award, the Germaine Breé Book Award, a Distinction in Literature citation from the Wisconsin Library Association, an NEA grant, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and a Discover Great New Writers designation from Barnes & Noble.

He has twice received Notable Essay citations in the Best American Essays series. His stories, essays, and poems have appeared in over 75 national journals and magazines. And he has been a contributing editor to a dozen literary magazines and was the founding editor of the Beloit Fiction Journal, which he edited for 20 years.

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