Mary Cappello

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Mary Cappello
Alma materState University of New York, Buffalo (Ph.D., M.A.), Dickinson College, B.A.
Known forExperimental prose, creative nonfiction, lyric essay, multi-genre, Italian American themes, gender and sexuality, cultural criticism
Scientific career
FieldsEnglish, Creative Nonfiction, Medical Humanities
InstitutionsUniversity of Rhode Island

Mary Cappello is a writer and professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Rhode Island.[1] She is the author of five books of literary nonfiction, and her essays and experimental prose have been published in The Georgia Review,[2] Salmagundi[3] and Cabinet Magazine.[4] Her work has been featured in The New York Times,[5] Salon,[6] The Huffington Post,[7] in guest author blogs for Powell's Books,[8] and on six separate occasions as Notable Essay of the Year in Best American Essays.[9][10][11] A 2011 Guggenheim Fellow in Creative Arts/Nonfiction,[12] she recently received a 2015 Berlin Prize from The American Academy in Berlin, a fellowship awarded to scholars, writers, composers, and artists who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields.[13]


Cappello is originally from Darby, Pennsylvania, a suburb outside Philadelphia. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from State University of New York, Buffalo, and her B.A. from Dickinson College. Cappello has taught at the University of Rhode Island, as a Fulbright Lecturer at the Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow, Russia,[14] and at the University of Rochester.

Publications and works[edit]

Literary nonfiction: Books[edit]

  • Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack, University of Chicago Press, October 2016.
  • Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them. The New Press. 2011. ISBN 1595583955.
  • Called Back: My Reply to Cancer, My Return to Life. Alyson Books. 2009. ISBN 1593501501.
  • Awkward: A Detour. Bellevue Literary Press. 2007. ISBN 1934137014.
  • Night Bloom: An Italian-American Life. Beacon Press. 1999. ISBN 0807072176.

Essays and experimental prose print[edit]

  • “Mood Rooms,” chosen as the annual Meridel Le Sueur Essay, Water~Stone Review, Fall 2015.[15]
  • “Wending Artifice: Creative Nonfiction and our Century’s Turn," in Maria De Battista and Emily Wittman (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Autobiography. Cambridge University Press, 2014: 237-252. ISBN 9781107609181.
  • “Contact,” in Jacqueline Stacey and Janet Wolff (ed.). Writing Otherwise: Experiments in Cultural Criticism. University of Manchester Press, 2013: 34-44. ISBN 978-0-7190-8942-8.
  • “My Secret, Private Errand (An Essay on Love and Theft),” Salmagundi, Fall 2013-Winter 2014, nos. 180-181: 135–183.
  • “objective correlatives: a trialogue on love,” Hotel Amerika, volume 8, no. 2, Spring 2010, 7–15.
  • “Losing Consciousness to a Lost Art,” Michigan Quarterly Review, Spring 2007, 329–338.
  • "The Trees are Aflame" from My Commie Sweetheart: Scenes from a Queer Friendship, 2004.

Essays and experimental prose on-line[edit]

Awards and recognition[edit]


  1. ^ University of Rhode Island, Faculty Bios, Mary Cappello.
  2. ^ Mary Cappello, "Getting the News", The Georgia Review, volume 63, number 2, Summer 2009, 294-315.
  3. ^ Mary Cappello, "For 'Anyone Interested in Learning What Makes Us Human', Salmagundi, Spring-Summer 2008, 75-96.
  4. ^ Mary Cappello, "Ingestion/Alone on Floor with a Pile of Buttons," Cabinet Magazine: A Quarterly of Art and Culture, Special Issue: Forensics, 43 (October 2011): 12-15.
  5. ^ Amanda Schaffer, Down the Hatch and Straight Into Medical History, The New York Times, January 10, 2011.
  6. ^ Thomas Rogers, “Swallow”: The strange things people swallow, Salon, December 18, 2010.
  7. ^ 13 Real And Imaginary Things That People Have Swallowed, The Huffington Post, January 22, 2011.
  8. ^ Powell's Books Blog, Mary Cappello.
  9. ^ John Jeremiah Sullivan and Robert Atwan, eds. The Best American Essays 2014, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct 7, 2014.
  10. ^ Edwidge Danticat and Robert Atwan, eds. Best American Essays 2011, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct 4, 2011.
  11. ^ Mary Oliver, ed. The Best American Essays 2009, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct 8, 2009.
  12. ^ a b John Simon Guggenheim Fellows, Mary Cappello.
  13. ^ The American Academy in Berlin, American Academy Announces Berlin Prize Recipients Archived 2015-08-10 at the Wayback Machine, 2015.
  14. ^ University at Buffalo Alumni Association, Mary Cappello, PhD ’88 & MA ’85, Award-winning professor.
  15. ^ Water~Stone Review, Fall 2015.
  16. ^ American Academy Announces Berlin Prize Recipients.
  17. ^ URI Foundation Excellence Awards Archived 2015-08-01 at the Wayback Machine, 2015.
  18. ^ The Georgia Review earns 10 honors at GAMMA Awards ceremony, UGA Today, May 4, 2010.
  19. ^ University of Rhode Island, Meet Mary Cappello.
  20. ^ Bechtel Prize Essay, "Can Creative Writing Be Taught?" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Mary Cappello, 2004.
  21. ^ Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize Winners, Mary Cappello and Paola Ferrario Archived 2015-09-30 at the Wayback Machine, 2001.
  22. ^ University of Rhode Island Faculty, Mary Cappello.

External links and interviews[edit]