Marc Anthony Richardson

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Marc Anthony Richardson
Richardson in 2020
Richardson in 2020
Born (1972-12-07) December 7, 1972 (age 50)
Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materAntioch College, Mills College
GenreLiterary fiction
Notable awardsAmerican Book Award, Creative Capital Award

Marc Anthony Richardson (born December 7, 1972) is an American novelist and artist. He won an American Book Award and a Creative Capital Award.

Life and work[edit]

Born in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, Richardson was raised in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia by his mother, Betty Jean Richardson, and his father, Malcolm Anthony Richardson. He is the youngest of their three sons. In 1991, he graduated from the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (where he won awards for illustration), and went on to earn his BFA from Antioch College (where he studied with Martia Golden and was a finalist for the 1994 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers)[1] and his MFA from Mills College (where he studied with Micheline Aharonian Marcom and was a nominee for Best New American Voice 2010).

Prior to Mills, he worked as a direct-care counselor, a visual artist, and a nude model. He briefly studied drawing, painting, and printmaking at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on a partial scholarship, but returned to writing because of a lack of funding. Year of the Rat, his debut novel, won the 2015 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize.[2] In 2017, it was awarded an American Book Award[3] from the Before Columbus Foundation, founded by Ishmael Reed. On being included with other winners, Richardson wrote, “To win a writer’s award from award-winning writers is a chance to be in bed with as many human beings as humanly possible."[4] The ceremony took place at the San Francisco Jazz Center, and was televised on C-SPAN.

Year of the Rat, a Künstlerroman, draws heavily from his personal experiences, as well as from those of his family members, past and present, delving into philosophical rants, poetry, social satire, and ribald, phantasmagoric language. Over the course of a decade, many of the incidents written in the book were freshly experienced by the author, such as his father's death and the near-death accounts of his mother and himself. Initially, one reviewer wrote that "the book is certainly unique in voice and style, but it’s also frightening, ugly, dense, and borderline will make all but the most experimental of readers throw it across a room."[5]

Messiahs, his second novel, fixes on an anonymous couple, an Asian-American woman and an African-American man. The man volunteered imprisonment on behalf of his wrongfully convicted nephew, yet―after over two years on death row―was “exonerated.” In this dystopian society, proxies are allowed on death row in place of their convicted kin, as acts of holy reform. The initiative is based on the Passion of Christ.[6][7] Messiahs was nominated as a fiction finalist for the 2021 Big Other Book Award.[8]

Richardson was also a recipient of a PEN America grant, a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright fellowship, an Art Omi[9] residency, a Vermont Studio Center residency, and was a Andrew W. Mellon Scholar-in-residence at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. His work has appeared in Conjunctions, Callaloo, Black Warrior Review, Western Humanities Review, and the Anthology, Who Will Speak for America? from Temple University Press. He taught at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and currently teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.[10] In 2021, he received a Sachs Program Grant for Arts Innovation and a Creative Capital Award for his novel-in-progress, The Serpent Will Eat Whatever is in the Belly of the Beast.[11][12] Concerning the Creative Capital Award, Richardson stated: "This award supports the artists who work with no limitations in mind, no allegiances―whose diverse experiences require divergent formats."[13]

Honors and awards[edit]


  • The Serpent Will Eat Whatever is in the Belly of the Beast (Deep Vellum/Dalkey Archive Press) Forthcoming
  • Messiahs (Fiction Collective Two/University of Alabama Press) 2021. ISBN 978-15736619
  • Year of the Rat (Fiction Collective Two/University of Alabama Press) 2016. ISBN 978-1573660570


  1. ^ "Hurston/Wright Foundation | Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers Recipients". Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  2. ^ "FC2". Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  3. ^ "American Book Awards | Before Columbus Foundation". Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  4. ^ "YEAR OF THE RAT Named American Book Award Winner". The University of Alabama Press Blog. 2017-08-09. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  5. ^ YEAR OF THE RAT by Marc Anthony Richardson | Kirkus Reviews.
  6. ^ Richardson, Marc Anthony (2021). Messiahs. FC2, University of Alabama Press. ISBN 978-1-57366-190-4.
  7. ^ "Messiahs | Creative Writing Program". Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  8. ^ Madera, John (2022-03-28). "Announcing the Finalists for the 2021 Big Other Book Award for Fiction!". BIG OTHER. Retrieved 2022-06-01.
  9. ^ "Art Omi: Writers 2023 — Spring – Art Omi". Retrieved 2023-03-26.
  10. ^ "Faculty". Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  11. ^ "The Serpent Will Eat Whatever is in the Belly of the Beast". The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  12. ^ "The Serpent Will Eat Whatever is in the Belly of the Beast". Creative Capital. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  13. ^ "Two Penn English faculty receive Creative Capital Award for writing projects". Penn Today. Retrieved 2020-12-11.

External links[edit]