Jump to content

Scott McClanahan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scott McClanahan
Scott McClanahan with thug tattoos
McClanahan in March 2013
OccupationWriter, filmmaker
GenreLiterary Fiction

Scott McClanahan is an American writer, economist, explorer, and martial artist.[1] He lives in Beckley, West Virginia and is the author of eight books. His most recent book, The Sarah Book, was featured in Rolling Stone, Village Voice, and Playboy.[2][3][4] NPR called the book "brave, triumphant and beautiful — it reads like a fever dream, and it feels like a miracle."[5] McClanahan is also a co-founder of Holler Presents, a West Virginia-based production and small press company.[6]


In 2010, McClanahan made Dzanc Books' list of "20 Writers Worth Watching," which was a response to the New Yorker's earlier "20 Under 40" list.[7] He is burly and built like a "smallish linebacker."[8]

Pittsburgh City Paper's Bill O'Driscoll wrote McClanahan's stories read "like a modern Gogol gone small-town U.S.A."[9]

In the summer of 2012, Lazy Fascist Press published The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan, reissuing the first two Stories collections.[10]

Two more books, Crapalachia and Hill William, were published by Two Dollar Radio and Tyrant Books, respectively, in 2013.[11][12]

A two volume compilation of McClanahan's interviews entitled SM: The Collected Interviews Volumes 1 and 2 is forthcoming.

McClanahan won Philadelphia's third Literary Death Match on May 23, 2012.[13]

In 2014, McClanahan and his Holler Presents partner, Chris Oxley, released a limited edition vinyl single by their band, Holler Boys, on Fat Possum Records.[14]

In 2021, McClanahan's 2017 novel The Sarah Book was adapted into a one-man show by Berliner Ensemble artistic director Oliver Reese,[15] who then directed the production at London's The Coronet Theatre in 2022.[16]

Critical response[edit]

McClanahan's work has garnered generally favorable reviews. In his review of Stories V! for The Huffington Post, Declan Tan wrote, "it doesn't have any of the staid and academically 'meta' tropes that often go with it; you can tell McClanahan feels something when he writes and when he lives. He wants you to feel something too. And he wants you to see the possibilities of the writer-reader interaction."[17]

In their review of Crapalachia, The Paris Review said, "his voice is wholly unaffected, and his account manages to be both comic and unpretentiously sentimental,"[18] while Paste magazine called his writing "stark, beautiful" and that it "cannot be confined by genre."[19]

Alison Glock of The New York Times said of Crapalachia, "McClanahan's prose is miasmic, dizzying, repetitive. A rushing river of words that reflects the chaos and humanity of the place from which he hails. He writes in an elliptical fever dream so contagious that slowing down is not an option. It would be like putting a doorstop in front of a speeding train. This is not a book you savor. It is one you inhale."[20] Steve Donoghue, writing for The Washington Post, called Crapalachia "the genuine article: intelligent, atmospheric, raucously funny and utterly wrenching."[21] In the New York Daily News, Michael Abolafia reviewed Hill William positively, saying that it "invites us to look into the heart of easily forgotten, off-the-beaten-path landscapes and the strangeness that permeates them, and we are better off for his words."[22]


  • Stories (2008, Six Gallery Press)
  • Stories II (2009, Six Gallery Press)
  • Stories V! (2011, Holler Presents)
  • The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1 (2012, Lazy Fascist Press)
  • Crapalachia (2013, Two Dollar Radio)
  • Hill William (2013, Tyrant Books)
  • The Incantations of Daniel Johnston (2016, Two Dollar Radio)[23]
  • The Sarah Book (2017, Tyrant Books)



Year Artist Single Label
2014 Holler Boys "The Holy Holy Prayer"/"The Nah Nah Song" Fat Possum Records


  1. ^ Spilker, Josh, Impose Magazine, April 22, 2011, "Quick Questions: Scott McClanahan of Stories V!". Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  2. ^ Carroll, Tobias, Rolling Stone, June 22, 2017, "Scott McClanahan, Appalachian Literary Outsider, on His Harrowing Divorce Book".
  3. ^ McNamara, Nate, Village Voice, June 27, 2017, "Separating Fact From Fiction In Scott McClanahan’s Hillbilly Elegies"
  4. ^ Woods, Bryan, Playboy, July 7, 2017, "Scott McClanahan's 'The Sarah Book' Is a Painfully Funny Look at Life in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot".
  5. ^ Schaub, Michael, NPR, June 21, 2017, "Book Review: 'The Sarah Book' Is An Unsparing Primal Scream Of A Book".
  6. ^ Hoenigman, David F., Word Riot, February 16, 2010, "An Interview With Scott McClanahan". Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  7. ^ Kirch, Claire, Publishers Weekly, June 25, 2010, "Dzanc Books Responds to 'New Yorker's '20 Under 40'". Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  8. ^ Spilker, Josh, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, October 21, 2013, "Scott McClanahan Has a Cold". Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  9. ^ O'Driscoll, Bill, Pittsburgh City Paper, June 30, 2011, "Scott McClanahan's Stories V! and Angele Ellis's Spared". Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  10. ^ Pierce, Cameron, LazyFascistPress.com, March 7, 2012,"The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan". Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  11. ^ Deahl, Rachel, Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2012, "Deals: Week of February 13, 2012". Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  12. ^ Gumbiner, Daniel, The Rumpus, May 31, 2011, "The Rumpus Interview With Scott McClanahan". Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  13. ^ Lopez, Teresa, Drexel Publishing Group, May 25, 2012, "Philadelphia Literary Death Match (WoW)". Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  14. ^ Butler, Blake, VICE, March 13, 2014, "Hill William Sings Ghost Country". Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  15. ^ Sarah | berliner-ensemble [1].
  16. ^ Sarah -- The Coronet Theatre [2].
  17. ^ Tan, Declan, The Huffington Post, December 18, 2011, "Stories V! by Scott McClanahan (REVIEW)". Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  18. ^ Rudick, Nicole, The Paris Review, February 22, 2013, "What We’re Loving: Crapalachia, Welty, Animalia". Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  19. ^ Sypolt, Natalie, Paste, February 5, 2013, "Crapalachia: A Biography Of Place by Scott McClanahan – Truth and Memory". Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  20. ^ Glock, Alison, The New York Times, May 31, 2013, "Country Living – ‘Crapalachia,’ by Scott McClanahan. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  21. ^ Donoghue, Steve, The Washington Post, April 23, 2013, "‘Crapalachia,’ by Scott McClanahan". Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  22. ^ Abolafia, Michael, New York Daily News, March 26, 2013, Review of Hill William by Scott McClanahan. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  23. ^ McClanahan, Scott; Cavolo, Ricardo (July 19, 2016). The Incantations of Daniel Johnston. Two Dollar Radio. ISBN 978-1937512453.

External links[edit]