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Michael Cunningham (born November 6, 1952)[1] is an American novelist and screenwriter. He is best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999. Cunningham is a senior lecturer of creative writing at Yale University.

Michael Cunningham
Cunningham in New York City, 2007
Cunningham in New York City, 2007
Born (1952-11-06) November 6, 1952 (age 66)
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
OccupationAuthor, screenwriter
Notable workThe Hours
Notable awardsPulitzer Prize for Fiction
PEN/Faulkner Award



Early life and educationEdit

Cunningham was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up in Pasadena, California. He studied English literature at Stanford University, where he earned his degree. Later, at the University of Iowa, he received a Michener Fellowship and was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. While studying at Iowa, he had short stories published in the Atlantic Monthly and the Paris Review. His short story "White Angel" was later used as a chapter in his novel A Home at the End of the World. It was included in "The Best American Short Stories, 1989", published by Houghton Mifflin.

In 1993, Cunningham received a Guggenheim Fellowship and in 1988 a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. In 1995 he was awarded a Whiting Award. Cunningham has taught at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and in the creative writing M.F.A. program at Brooklyn College. He is a senior lecturer of creative writing at Yale University.


The Hours established Cunningham as a major force in U.S. writing, and his 2010 novel, By Nightfall, was also well received by U.S. critics.[2] Cunningham edited a book of poetry and prose by Walt Whitman,[3] Laws for Creations, and co-wrote, with Susan Minot, a screenplay adapted from Minot's novel Evening. He was a producer for the 2007 film Evening, starring Glenn Close, Toni Collette, and Meryl Streep.

In November 2010, Cunningham judged one of NPR's "Three Minute Fiction" contests.[4]

In April 2018, it was announced that Cunningham would serve as consulting producer for a revival of the Tales of the City miniseries, which is based on Armistead Maupin's book series of the same name.[5] The miniseries premiered on June 7, 2019.

Personal lifeEdit

Although Cunningham is gay and was in a long-term domestic partnership with psychoanalyst Ken Corbett,[6] he dislikes being referred to as a gay writer, according to a PlanetOut article.[7] While he often writes about gay people, he does not "want the gay aspects of [his] books to be perceived as their single, primary characteristic."[8]


Cunningham reading at a W. H. Auden tribute in New York, 2007


Short story collectionsEdit

  • 2015 A Wild Swan and Other Tales, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. November 10, 2015 ISBN 978-0374290252




Stories and articlesEdit

Awards and achievementsEdit

For The Hours, Cunningham was awarded the:

In 1995, Cunningham received the a Whiting Award.

In 2011 Cunningham won The Fernanda Pivano Award for American Literature in Italy.[9]


External linksEdit