Megan Marshall, who once lived on Rutland Square right next to the South End library, will return here on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, to read from the biography of her former professor, the poet Elizabeth Bishop. Called Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast, the poet is the first 20th-century woman Marshall has written about. Her previous biographies focussed on women with spectacular lives from the 19th century, such as Margaret Fuller (Margaret Fuller: A New American Life) and The Peabody Sisters. Marshall came to the South End library two years ago to talk about the Margaret Fuller biography for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014. She will be introduced by her colleague, author Joan Wickersham (The News from Spain; The Suicide Index)
The California-born biographer who came east to study New England literary culture first met Elizabeth Bishop when the poet came as a guest to a poetry workshop Marshall attended by Robert Lowell at Harvard in 1975. Shortly thereafter, Marshall took Bishop's last Advanced Verse Writing workshop. Bishop died three years later. According to her web site, Marshall intertwined the Bishop biography with her own coming-of-age-as-a-writer story.
Marshall has made the study of women's stories her life's work, as detailed in an interview with the MAKER's blog, linked here. She was the Gilder Lehrman Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library in 2014-15. She has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She teaches nonfiction writing and archival research in the MFA program at Emerson College where she has been named the first Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor. An elected Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, she also serves on the boards of the Margaret Fuller Society, the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society, the Copyright Clearance Center, and is a member of the Usage Panel for the American Heritage Dictionary.