MacArthur Fellows Program

John Edgar Wideman

Writer | Class of 1993

Amherst, Massachusetts
52 at time of award
Published July 1, 1993

About John's Work

John Edgar Wideman is a novelist, a short-story writer, an essayist, and a critic.

His novels draw on his personal history to bring people from completely different backgrounds to an appreciation of life in Homewood, the black community in Pittsburgh where he grew up.  He has contributed to a new humanist perspective in American literature, distilling personality and history, crime and mysticism, art and the exigencies of material life into his work.  Wideman is the author of more than fifty short stories and twenty novels, including A Glance Away (1967); Hurry Home (1969); The Lynchers (1973); the Homewood Trilogy comprised of Hiding Place (1981), Damballah (1981), and Sent for You Yesterday (1983); Brothers and Keepers (1984); Reuben (1987); Philadelphia Fire (1990); The Stories of John Edgar Wideman (1992); Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race and Society (1994); The Cattle Killing (1996); Two Cities (1998); and God’s Gym (2005).


Wideman is the Asa Messer Professor of Africana Studies and of English at Brown University.  He served previously as a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1986-2004).

Wideman received a B.A. (1963) from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.Phil. (1966) from the University of Oxford.

Last updated January 1, 2006

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