BILL BRETT/GLOBE PHOTO/FILE 2012
Michael Patrick MacDonald is the author of the New York Times Bestselling memoir, All Souls: A Family Story From Southie and the acclaimed Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion. These two books are frequent “First Year Experience” selections at colleges and universities throughout the U.S., for which MacDonald has given over 300 campus lectures. He has been awarded an American Book Award, A New England Literary Lights Award, and a fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study Center. MacDonald has written a number of essays and short stories, including The Resurrection of Cornelius Larkin: An Immigrant’s Tale, written for The Dropkick Murphys' theme album “Going Out in Style.” He has been a contributor to The Boston Globe’s Op Ed page and a Senior Contributing Editor for the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.
MacDonald grew up in the Old Colony Housing Project in South Boston, a neighborhood that held the highest concentration of white poverty in the United States. After losing four of his eleven siblings and seeing his generation decimated by poverty, crime, addiction, and incarceration, he learned to transform personal and community trauma by becoming a leading Boston activist, organizer and writer. MacDonald has focused his community efforts on diverse and inclusive coalition building to reduce violence and promote grassroots leadership from our most impacted communities and families. He has developed Gun Buyback programs and local support groups which promote the voices of adult and youth survivors of poverty, violence and the drug trade. MacDonald is on many local and national boards, including the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat The Odds Essay Selection Committee, Crittenton Women’s Union National Advisory Committee, Families First of Greater Boston Advisory Board, and OrigiNation, Inc.
MacDonald serves as Author-in-Residence & Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University’s Honors Department, where he teaches his curricula: “Non-Fiction Writing & Social Justice Issues” and “The North of Ireland: Colonialism, Armed Resistance and the Struggle for Peace with Justice" every fall. He has been a Visiting Professor at California State University in Northridge CA, and at The University of Mannheim in Germany. He was appointed Distinguished Writer in Residence at UMass Boston Honors College in the Spring of 2015, and has accepted the position of Senior Fellow at the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development at the McCormack Institute for Social Policy and Global Studies. In addition, he has developed and taught his newest curriculum, "Storytelling & Global Justice" for Harvard University Summer School.
MacDonald is currently developing his memoir, All Souls, as a TV series and is working on his third book, which will use narrative non-fiction storytelling to reveal issues of generational trauma in our local working class and poor communities. In addition, he has developed a community-based writing and healing curriculum, The Rest of the Story, which was piloted with the Crittenton Women’s Union in Boston to help women who are transitioning out of poverty find their voices on the page and in the world. This year he has taken transformational storytelling to Boston survivors of homicide victims at The Louis D Brown Peace Institute, where he is also currently Writer in Residence.