More About the Author
Mary Cappello, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow in Nonfiction, is a regular contributor to the world of literary nonfiction and experimental prose. Her four books include a memoir, a detour, an anti-chronicle (or "ritual in transfigured time"), and a lyric biography. She is the author of Night Bloom: An Italian/American Life (Beacon Press); Awkward: A Detour (a Los Angeles Times bestselling book-length essay on "awkwardness"); Called Back, and most recently, Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them.
Called Back: My Reply to Cancer, My Return to Life, received a ForeWord Book of the Year Award and an Independent Publishers Award (IPPY). "Getting the News," an excerpt from Called Back that appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of The Georgia Review, won a GAMMA Award for Best Feature from The Magazine Association of the Southeast. Called Back was also a Finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and a Publishing Triangle Award, the judges for whom described the book this way:
"The narrative of cancer has become disconcertingly familiar to us. But Mary Cappello turns the story inside out, folds it up, and deftly re-opens it into something new and rather marvelous. This is someone who reads Proust on the gurney while waiting to be wheeled into surgery. She brings us along for the ride, and it's a dizzying, discursive delight. With a bracing combination of intellectual and emotional acuity, Cappello explores the inanities and indignities of the medical establishment, the solitude and camaraderie of illness, the politics and poetics of cancer culture. "Most essays are finished before they've begun," Cappello cautions her undergraduate writing students. Her book is an essay continually striking off into unexpected terrain with giddy courage and wonderment. Called back across that grim border, Cappello brings with her a luminous gift."
Some of Cappello's recent essaying addresses Gunther von Hagens' bodyworlds exhibits (in Salmagundi); sleep, sound and the silence of silent cinema (in Michigan Quarterly Review); the psychology of tears (in Water~stone Review); the uncanny dimensions of parapraxis and metalepsis (in Interim), and the aesthetics of the short form. Her experimental prose piece, "Objective Correlatives: a trialogue on love" appearing in Hotel Amerika was just nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her work has enjoyed numerous Notable Essay of the Year citations in Best American Essays. A recipient of the Dorothea Lange/Paul Taylor Prize from Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies and the Bechtel Prize for Educating the Imagination from Teachers and Writers Collaborative, Cappello is a former Fulbright lecturer at the Gorky Literary Institute (Moscow, Russia) and currently Professor of English at the University of Rhode Island where she teaches courses in Creative Writing, Literature and Medicine, nineteenth century American literature and culture, Literary Acoustics, and more. Her latest book-length project on a single theme is a foray into sound and mood, tentatively titled In the Mood.
For media features (from the LA Times to the New York Times, from Salon.com to the Huffington Post, to radio appearances in Vancouver and Australia),a schedule of appearances, reviews, and projects relative to SWALLOW, please visit www.swallowthebook.com
Cappello is interested, along with a number of other contemporary nonfiction writers, in restoring the word "essay" to its verb form. For more information, including interviews with Julie Bolcer for HERE! TV, NPR affiliate Celest Quinn for "Afternoon Magazine,"and Jean Feraca for "Here on Earth," go to her website: www.awkwardness.org,
or read more on her Faculty Homepage: http://www.uri.edu/artsci/eng/Faculty/Cappello.html
or visit her youtube channel, where a series of visual meditations on awkwardness can be found.