McCown, Clint 1952–
McCown, Clint 1952–
PERSONAL: Born March 7, 1952, in Fayetteville, TN; son of James E. (a secret service agent) and Mary Jane (Wallace) McCown; married Cynthia P. (a professor), September 2, 1982; children: Caitlin Ann, Mary Alison. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Attended Circle-in-the-Square Theatre School, 1973–74; Wake Forest University, B.A., 1974, M.A., 1978; attended University of Alabama, 1980–81; Indiana University, M.F.A., 1985. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Presbyterian.
ADDRESSES: Office—Department of English, Hibbs Building, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284-2005. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: National Shakespeare Company, actor, 1974–75; North Carolina Visiting Artist Program, poet-in-residence, 1976–78; Alabama Information Network (Alanet), investigative reporter, 1978; James Sprunt Technical College, instructor, 1979; Beloit College, Beloit, WI, professor of creative writing, beginning 1984, director of creative writing, beginning 1988, and chair of Department of English, 1991–94, beginning 1999; Virginia Commonwealth University, associate professor of English. University of Glasgow, visiting professor, 1988; Associated Writing Programs, member, 1988–; Antioch Writers Workshops, board of directors member, 1999–; faculty member at several writers' conferences and workshops; judge for numerous writing contents; gives public readings and guest lectures.
MEMBER: Writers Guild of America (East).
AWARDS, HONORS: Associated Press award for broadcast journalism; American Fiction Prize, 1991 and 1993; Society of Midland Authors Award for Best Fiction, 1995, for The Member-Guest; War Memorials was designated an Outstanding Achievement in Literature by the Wisconsin Library Association; Sister Maria Gable Prize for best new fiction, 2004, for The Weatherman.
Love Poem (play), produced on Broadway, 1974.
A Christmas Carol (play; adapted from the book by Charles Dickens), produced in Smithfield, NC, 1976.
Sidetracks (poems), Jackpine (Winston-Salem, NC), 1977.
Wind over Water (poems), Northwoods (Thomaston, ME), 1985.
The Member-Guest (stories), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1995.
Exclusions in the Policy (play), produced at Wake Forest University, 1997.
The Weatherman, Graywolf Press (St. Paul, MN), 2004.
Also author of Public Affairs (thirty half-hour radio documentaries), and 800 five-minute news broadcasts for Alanet, 1978. Author of Elections in Alabama: Exercise in Futility (documentary), broadcast in 1978. Editor of Indiana Review, 1982–83, and Beloit Fiction Journal, beginning 1985. Contributing editor to Colorado Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Puerto del Sol, Mid-American Review, Quarterly West, Bellingham Review, Cimarron Review, Willow Springs, and Fourth Genre. Contributor to anthologies and to periodicals, including Clackamas Review, Colorado Review, Golf Digest, Hawai'i Review, Writers' Forum, Mid-American Review, American Fiction, Sewanee Review, Denver Quarterly, American Fiction, and Gettysburg Review.
SIDELIGHTS: Clint McCown is the author of several works of fiction, including The Member-Guest, a collection of connected and previously published stories about a third-rate golf club that is home to an assortment of unusual characters, including Shirley Davies, who fills the holes with concrete as a protest of the all-male policy. Entertainment Weekly contributor Gene Lyons described the stories as "witty, evocative, and oddly moving," adding that McCown "evokes a miniature world and populates it with a cast of heartbreaking fools."
McCown followed with two novels, including The Weatherman, which begins in 1978 with narrator Taylor Wakefield lying in a hospital, recovering from an injury to his hand. The story flashes back to the 1960s, when Taylor witnessed a brutal crime committed by his cousin Billie, and takes Taylor through childhood disappointments before returning to the present, where he is a weatherman at a small Alabama television station. He is planning revenge on Billie, who is now running for district attorney, and a girl who out-spelled him in the National Spelling Bee, who is preparing to become a nun. Library Journal reviewer Andrea Kempf called The Weatherman a "very funny, literate novel."
McCown once told CA: "I suppose I write to try to get at a better understanding of things. Besides my own life, I'd say my strongest literary influences are Flannery O'Connor and Raymond Carver. I have to work slowly. I'm not one who tends to gush out a draft; instead I tend to focus on the craft in minute detail.
"Perhaps the greatest shaping force was the fact that my family had moved seven times by the time I entered eighth grade. Throughout my formative years I was cast continually in the role of the outsider. As a consequence, a major theme in my work seems to be the examining of artificial cultural barriers that dictate behavior. I like exploring the ways in which people do—or don't—struggle to fit into society."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Book, November, 2000, R. Todd Smith, review of War Memorials, p. 76.
Booklist, February 15, 1995, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Member-Guest, p. 1060.
Entertainment Weekly, May 5, 1995, Gene Lyons, review of The Member-Guest, p. 63.
Library Journal, February 15, 1995, Albert E. Wilhelm, review of The Member-Guest, p. 182; September 1, 2004, Andrea Kempf, review of The Weatherman, p. 140.
Publishers Weekly, September 13, 2004, review of The Weatherman, p. 58.