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Michael Patrick MacDonald

Michael Patrick MacDonald

Best-Selling Author & Community Activist


Michael Patrick MacDonald is the author of the New York Times Bestselling memoir, All Souls: A Family Story From Southie and Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion. He has given over 300 campus lectures as his works are frequent "First Year Experience" selections at colleges and universities throughout the country. He has been awarded an American Book Award, A New England Literary Lights Award, and a fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study Center. Read More >

MacDonald grew up in the Old Colony Housing Project in South Boston, a neighborhood that held the highest concentration of white poverty in the United States. After losing four of his eleven siblings and seeing his generation decimated by poverty, crime, addiction, and incarceration, he learned to transform personal and community trauma, becoming a leading Boston activist, organizer, and writer. His efforts have built diverse, class-conscious coalitions to reduce violence and promote grassroots leadership from within the communities and families most impacted. He co-founded Boston’s first ever Gun Buyback programs as well as local support groups for survivors of poverty, violence, and the drug trade.

At Northeastern University’s Honors Department, MacDonald serves as Professor of the Practice, teaching his curricula: "Non-Fiction Writing & Social Justice Issues" and "The North of Ireland: From Conflict toward Peace with Justice." He leads an annual Northeastern University "Dialogue of Civilizations" classroom to Derry and Belfast, where students get an up-close perspective on Restorative and Transformative Justice efforts in these post-conflict cities. As with much of his recent community-building, writing and teaching, the theme of the dialog is the intersection of justice and healing. MacDonald is a frequent guest lecturer at universities, including University of Massachusetts Honors College, where he served as Distinguished Writer in Residence in 2015. In addition, he teaches "Storytelling & Global Justice" at Harvard University and has accepted the position of Senior Fellow at the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development at the McCormack Institute for Social Policy and Global Studies.

At the grassroots level, MacDonald has recently developed a community-based writing and healing curriculum. The Rest of the Story: Transforming Trauma to Voice and Agency has been implemented at Crittenton Women’s Union with women transitioning out of poverty, at the Louis D Brown Peace Institute with Boston survivors of homicide victims, with cross-border men’s sheds in Fermanagh and Leitrim, as well at Loughan House prison in Cavan, Ireland.

MacDonald has received a 2019 Fulbright Award, teaching "Transformative Storytelling" at Queen’s University, Belfast and bringing his community-based writing and storytelling curriculum to grassroots survivor groups in Belfast.

He is currently working on his third book, which utilizes his trademark storytelling narrative style to reveal issues of generational trauma & painkilling in working class and poor communities in Massachusetts. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Charlie Rose Interview

Son of Southie Watching Bulger Trial

The Importance and Impact of a Memoir

Speech Topics

Learning Environments that Help Young People Transform Their Story to Voice, Agency & Leadership

Pain & the Painkilling: A Twenty Year Crisis of Trauma & the Opioid Epidemic in MA

Writing as a Way of Healing: Helping Individuals & Communities Heal from Trauma

On Common Ground: Race & Class in Boston & the U. S.

Building Diverse Survivor-led Coalitions for Social Change

Generational Trauma in Boston: The Legacy of Boston Crime Boss Whitey Bulger