Life and career
McCracken, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, graduated from Newton North High School in Newton, Massachusetts, earned a B.A. and M.A. in English from Boston University, an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa, and an M.S. in Library Science from Drexel University. In 2008 and 2009, McCracken lived in Cambridge, MA, where she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is married to the novelist Edward Carey. They have a son, August George Carey Harvey, and a daughter, Matilda Libby Mary Harvey; an earlier child died before birth, an experience which formed the basis of McCracken's memoir An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination.
McCracken holds the James Michener Chair of Fiction of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. She and her husband were previously on the faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is the sister of former PC World magazine editor-in-chief and founder of Technologizer.com Harry McCracken.
Ann Patchett in an interview on her novel "Run," mentions that Elizabeth McCracken is her editor and is the only person to read her manuscripts as she is writing.
In 2014, she published her first collection of stories in 20 years: Thunderstruck & Other Stories. Among the nine stories are a tale about a successful documentary filmmaker who has to face a famous subject he manipulated and betrayed; one about a young scholar who is mourning his wife; and another about a grocery store manager who obsesses about a woman’s disappearance. Sept 2014 in New York Times.
Awards and honors
- 2002 L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award, Niagara Falls All Over Again.
- Here's Your Hat What's Your Hurry: Stories (1993, Random House)–the American Library Association listed this anthology on their "Notable Books for 1994" list 
- The Giant's House (1996, Vintage/Avon)–Granta Books included the excerptThe Giant of Cape Cod from The Giant's House in their collection Granta 54: Best of Young American Novelists 
- Niagara Falls All Over Again (2001)
- An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination (2008)
- Thunderstruck (2014)
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