Author Ann McCutchan discusses her biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings at the Matheson History Museum

Press release from the Matheson History Museum

The Matheson History Museum is excited to welcome author Ann McCutchan on Friday, November 19, at 7 p.m. at the Matheson to discuss her latest book, The Life She Wished to Live: A Biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Author of “The Yearling.” This program is hosted in partnership with the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries and the University of Florida Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere.

For the safety of staff and attendees, capacity will be limited to 50 people and masks are required. Admission is free but registration is required: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-life-she-wished-to-live-tickets-193813711027

A virtual option via Zoom is available for those who cannot attend in person:


Washington, DC, born and Wisconsin educated, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was an unlikely author of a coming-of-age novel about a poor central Florida child and his pet fawn―much less one that has become synonymous with Floridian literature writ large.

Rawlings was a tough, passionate, and independent woman who refused the early-twentieth-century conventions of her upbringing. Determined to forge a literary career beyond those limitations, she found her voice in the remote hardscrabble life of Cross Creek, Florida. Between hunting alligators and managing an orange grove, Rawlings employed her sensitive eye, sharp ear for dialogue, and philosophical spirit to bring to life an unknown corner of America in vivid, tender detail―a feat that earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1938.

The Life She Wished to Live paints a lively portrait of Rawlings, her contemporaries―including her legendary editor Maxwell Perkins and friends Zora Neale Hurston and Ernest Hemingway―and the Florida landscape and people that inspired her.

Ann McCutchan

Ann McCutchan is the author of six books of memoir, essay, and biography. The founding director of the University of Wyoming Creative Writing MFA program, she was most recently a professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas and editor of American Literary Review. Her newest book, The Life She Wished to Live: A Biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Author of “The Yearling,” was released by W.W. Norton in May 2021 to glowing reviews.

McCutchan earned degrees in music performance from Florida State University and the University of Michigan, a M.F.A in creative writing from the University of Houston, and held a post-doctoral fellowship in the Knight Writing Institute at Cornell University. For seventeen years, she worked in Austin as an independent musician and writer, also teaching at Stephen F. Austin State University and the University of Texas. She received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Educational Press Association of America.

Her previous books include Marcel Moyse: Voice of the Flute; The Muse That Sings: Composers Speak About the Creative Process; Circular Breathing: Meditations from a Musical Life; River Music: An Atchafalaya Story and Where’s the Moon? a Memoir of the Space Coast and the Florida Dream. Her personal essays have appeared in Boulevard, Image, The Florida Review, and other literary journals. “Reaching for the End of Time,” first published in Image, was anthologized in The Best American Spiritual Writing 2007.

As well, McCutchan is a busy lyricist and librettist, with eight commissioned music texts to her credit, including works for the Handel and Haydn Society (Boston) and Chamber Music Hawaii. Her most recent project, The Dreamer, is an opera in collaboration with composer Mark Alan Taggart, premiered online in August 2021.

McCutchan has been awarded residencies and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, and many others. Her work on The Life She Wished to Live was generously supported by the Richard C. Bartlett Foundation.

This program is sponsored in part by Visit Gainesville/Alachua County, FL and by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of the Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.

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