John McManus was born in Knoxville in 1977 and grew up in Blount County, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. His fourth book of fiction, the story collection Fox Tooth Heart, was published by Sarabande Books in November 2015. He’s also the author of the novel Bitter Milk (2005) and the short story collectionsBorn on a Train (2003) and Stop Breakin Down (2000), all available from Picador USA. Fiddleblack published the Stop Breakin Down audiobook (2014) with narration by Dane Elcar. He has received a 2013 Creative Capital innovative literature grant and a 2014 Fulbright scholar grant for a novel-in-progress involving gay refugees in South Africa.
In 2000 he won the Whiting Writers’ Award following the publication of Stop Breakin Down. For that collection he also received the Fellowship of Southern Writers’ New Writing Award, whose award citation by George Garrett said he “has the desire and the ability to push his language toward a[n]…extreme and to transform it radically, as Cormac McCarthy and, before him, William Faulkner have done. Fierceness, too: the best of McManus’s stories have some of the ferocity that Flannery O’Connor brought to her vision of her material.”
Chapters of his novel-in-progress The Cultivationists have appeared in American Short Fiction, Plots With Guns, Fiddleblack, and Grist: A Journal for Writers. In addition to these journals, his fiction and non-fiction have been published in McSweeney’s Quarterly, Ploughshares, The Harvard Review, The Oxford American,Tin House, StorySouth, The Literary Review,The Columbia Review, Paraphilia, and Night Train, as well as the fiction anthologies Surreal South ‘09, Surreal South ‘11, Apparitional Experience,and Degrees of Elevation, and as a literary critic in Fiddleblack’s annotated edition of Cabal by Clive Barker.
He has been awarded numerous fellowships and residencies for his writing, including the Djerassi Residents Artists Program, the Ucross Foundation Literature Residency, the Millay Colony for the Arts Creative Writing Residency, the Camargo Foundation Fellowship in Cassis, France, the Brown Foundation Fellowship at the Dora Maar House in Menerbes, France, the writers’ fellowship at Fundación Valparaiso in Mojácar, Spain, the 2010 Granville Hicks Residency at the Corporation of Yaddo, the Caldera Arts Residency, the Robert M. MacNamara Foundation Residency, and the James A. Michener fellowship in
fiction and screenwriting at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, where he earned his MFA in 2004.
McManus directs the MFA creative writing program at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he is an associate professor. He also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Goddard College in Vermont. He is contributing editor at Fiddleblack, a small press and literary journal dedicated to creative writing with a strong sense of place.