Competition: US & Canada
Maurice Manning grew up in Danville, Kentucky. He credits his grandmothers, who were natural storytellers, with stimulating his early interest in the rhythms and sounds of language. His grandmothers also offered direct contact with the 19th century, with a time and place remote from industrialization and other features of modern life. Manning’s family was among the first generation of pioneers to settle Kentucky. The complex heritage and history of belonging to a place have guided Manning’s development as a poet.
Manning received his undergraduate degree in English from Earlham College. He earned an M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Alabama. Manning teaches at Indiana University and in the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He also teaches regularly in the Appalachian Writers Workshop at the Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky.
In 2000 his first book, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, was selected by W.S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Manning’s other books include A Companion for Owls (2004) and Bucolics (2007). His most recent book, The Common Man, was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize. Manning has held writing fellowships at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and at The Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers in Scotland. In 2009 Manning received the Hanes Poetry Prize from The Fellowship of Southern Writers. He lives in Kentucky.