|Alma mater||State University of New York, Buffalo (Ph.D., M.A.), Dickinson College, B.A.|
|Known for||Experimental prose, creative nonfiction, lyric essay, multi-genre, Italian American themes, gender and sexuality, cultural criticism|
|Fields||English, Creative Nonfiction, Medical Humanities|
|Institutions||University of Rhode Island|
Mary Cappello is a writer and professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Rhode Island. She is the author of five books of literary nonfiction, and her essays and experimental prose have been published in The Georgia Review, Salmagundi and Cabinet Magazine. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Salon, The Huffington Post, in guest author blogs for Powell's Books, and on six separate occasions as Notable Essay of the Year in Best American Essays. A 2011 Guggenheim Fellow in Creative Arts/Nonfiction, 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.
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, and at the University of Rochester.
Publications and works
Literary nonfiction: Books
- 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
- “Mood Rooms,” chosen as the annual Meridel Le Sueur Essay, Water~Stone Review, Fall 2015.
- “Wending Artifice: Creative Nonfiction and our Century’s Turn," in Maria De Battista and Emily Wittman, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Autobiography. Cambridge University Press, 2014: 237-252. ISBN 9781107609181.
- “Contact,” in Jacqueline Stacey and Janet Wolff, eds. 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
- “Courting the Peculiar: The Ever-changing Queerness of Creative Nonfiction" a series of essays, sound texts and performances on creative nonfiction as a queer genre, Slag Glass City, December 2014.
- "Flow," a lyric essay for Bending Genre: Toward a Theory of Creative Nonfiction, April 2013.
- "Voluptuously, Expansively, Historically, Contradictorily: Essaying the Interview" with David Lazar for The Conversant: Interview Projects, Talk Poetries, Embodied Inquiry, November 2013.
- "Lyric Essay as Perversion: Channeling Djuna Barnes," TriQuarterly, September 2014.
- "Disconcerting Pleasures; or, The Mysterious Unknowability of the Mind: A Conversation with Mary Cappello and Christine Montross", for Bellevue Literary Press Conversation Series between doctors and artists, May 23, 2014.
Awards and recognition
- Berlin Prize, American Academy in Berlin, Individual Fellowship, 2015.
- The University of Rhode Island Foundation Scholarly Excellence Award, 2015. Nominated in 2014, 2013.
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Creative Arts/Nonfiction.
- GAMMA Award for Best Feature from The Magazine Association of the Southeast for "Getting the News: A Signer among Signs," The Georgia Review, volume 63, number 2, Summer 2009.
- Teacher of the Year Award, University of Rochester.
- The Bechtel Prize for Educating the Imagination from the Teachers and Writers Collaborative, NYC for the essay, "Can Creative Writing Be Taught?"
- The Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize, with photographer Paola Ferrario, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, for "Pane Amaro/Bitter Bread: The Struggle of New Immigrants to Italy," 2001.
- Fulbright Fellowship, Maxim Gorky Literature Institute, Moscow, Russia, 2001.
- University of Rhode Island, Faculty Bios, Mary Cappello.
- Mary Cappello, "Getting the News", The Georgia Review, volume 63, number 2, Summer 2009, 294-315.
- Mary Cappello, "For 'Anyone Interested in Learning What Makes Us Human', Salmagundi, Spring-Summer 2008, 75-96.
- 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.
- Amanda Schaffer, Down the Hatch and Straight Into Medical History, The New York Times, January 10, 2011.
- Thomas Rogers, “Swallow”: The strange things people swallow, Salon, December 18, 2010.
- 13 Real And Imaginary Things That People Have Swallowed, The Huffington Post, January 22, 2011.
- Powell's Books Blog, Mary Cappello.
- John Jeremiah Sullivan and Robert Atwan, eds. The Best American Essays 2014, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct 7, 2014.
- Edwidge Danticat and Robert Atwan, eds. Best American Essays 2011, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct 4, 2011.
- Mary Oliver, ed. The Best American Essays 2009, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct 8, 2009.
- John Simon Guggenheim Fellows, Mary Cappello.
- The American Academy in Berlin, American Academy Announces Berlin Prize Recipients, 2015.
- University at Buffalo Alumni Association, Mary Cappello, PhD ’88 & MA ’85, Award-winning professor.
- Water~Stone Review, Fall 2015.
- American Academy Announces Berlin Prize Recipients.
- URI Foundation Excellence Awards, 2015.
- The Georgia Review earns 10 honors at GAMMA Awards ceremony, UGA Today, May 4, 2010.
- University of Rhode Island, Meet Mary Cappello.
- Bechtel Prize Essay, "Can Creative Writing Be Taught?", Mary Cappello, 2004.
- Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize Winners, Mary Cappello and Paola Ferrario, 2001.
- University of Rhode Island Faculty, Mary Cappello.
- Interview with Mutter Museum Director Robert Hicks for No Bones About It on the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection
- Interview with LA Times Carolyn Kellogg, on the most important book Cappello read in school
- Interview with Julie Bolcer for Here! TV, on writing breast cancer and its politics, posted by Antonio Gonzalez Cerna from Lambda Literary
- Interview with Sarah Kruse, on writing the strange and non-narrative assemblage
- The Curious Collection of Swallowed Objects, Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, March 23, 2011.
- Awkward: A Detour with Celeste Quinn for Illinois Public Radio's Afternoon Magazine, February 27, 2008.
- An illustrated reading, "The Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection and the Art It Has Inspired," at St Bartholomew's Hospital Pathology Museum and Gallery, London, England, June 2012.