This spring, author Elizabeth McCracken assumes the Michener Endowed Chair in Creative Writing with UT’s Department of English and the Michener Center for Writers, the latest distinguished joint hire by the two programs.
McCracken is the author of a 1993 collection of stories, “Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry,” a debut the New York Times called “elegantly written.” Her first novel, “The Giant’s House” was a finalist for the 1996 National Book Award, and Granta magazine named McCracken one of the Twenty Best Young American Novelists that year. A third novel followed in 2001, “Niagara Falls All Over Again,” which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the year and was recognized with a PEN/Winship award.
McCracken’s latest published work is a memoir, “An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination,” which tells of the death of her first child during her ninth month of pregnancy in 2006. McCracken’s unflinching account of this terrible loss—and the healthy birth of another baby a year later—has won both popular and critical acclaim for its eloquence and fearless honesty. It was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the Best Books of 2008, and the paperback comes out next month.
Elizabeth and her husband, the novelist Edward Carey, relocated to Austin with their two children, Gus and Matilda. Elizabeth is currently at work on a novel about a strong woman tentatively called “Let Your Heart Become Iron”—for which she’s done research with UT’s Todd-McLean Physical Culture archive—and a second story collection, “The House of Two Three-Legged Dogs.”