Megan Marshall wins Pulitzer Prize

By Dan O'Brien
April 14, 2014

MarshallAssociate Professor Megan Marshall has won a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for the biography Margaret Fuller: A New American Life (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Evan Allen ’11 was on the team of journalists from the Boston Globe who also won a 2014 Pulitzer for their coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The major announcements were made April 14. Marshall, of the Writing, Literature and Publishing Department (WLP), was in the midst of penning a new book when she got the news.

“It’s an incredible honor,” she said. “There’s no greater honor for a biographer than this prize.”

Her reaction went from feeling “ridiculous to sublime very quickly,” she said.

Marshall was previously nominated for a Pulitzer for her 2005 biography, The Peabody Sisters.

“This is a richly deserved honor,” said Jerald Walker, chair and associate professor of WLP. “I speak for the entire department in saying we could not be more delighted for and proud of her.”

Walker said Margaret Fuller “is a triumph of literary biography that showcases Megan’s uncanny ability to recreate lives on the page.”

In Margaret Fuller, Marshall delves into the true story of Fuller, a pioneering author and journalist from Cambridge, Massachusetts, who became a prominent member of the Transcendentalist circle with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Fuller died in a shipwreck in 1850 while returning from Europe with her much younger Italian husband and their 2-year-old son.

The biography received rave reviews from the New York Times, the New Yorker, and several other outlets.

“You always have to tell yourself you’ve done a good job, even if you don’t get the prizes or the recognition,” Marshall said. “I feel this [Pulitzer] is a wonderful distinction. I’m very grateful other people seem to feel this way.”

She added that she’s thankful for the support of her Emerson students and colleagues. Marshall is currently on leave from teaching as she works on a forthcoming biography.

“I feel wonderful that Emerson, as a creative writing school, is a place that can be a good home for a writer like me, who is also a scholar,” Marshall said. 

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