Michael McDowell

Author details

June 10, 1950
June 10, 1999

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Michael McDowell was born in 1950 in Enterprise, Alabama, and graduated from T.R. Miller High in Brewton, Alabama. He received a B.A. and an M.A. from Harvard College, and a Ph.D in English from Brandeis University in 1978, based on a dissertation entitled "American Attitudes Toward Death, 1825–1865." His extensive and diverse collection of death memorabilia, including items such as death pins, photographs and plaques from infant caskets, was acquired by Chicago's Northwestern University in 2013.

As an adult, McDowell lived in Medford, Massachusetts, where he taught screenwriting at Boston University and Tufts University while continuing to write commissioned screenplays. McDowell's partner was theatre historian and director Laurence Senelick, whom he met in 1969.

While arguably best known for his works of Southern Gothic horror, McDowell was an accomplished stylist who wrote several series with marked differences in tone, character, and subject matter. His period novels are praised for their intricate eye for historical research and accurate details. In his lifetime he wrote six standalone novels and The Blackwater Saga (a series of six novellas later connected into a single volume), the "Wild Card" series of historical mysteries, and a novelization of the film Clue. Under various pennames, he …

Books by Michael McDowell