Speaking to the World
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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 ^
The Charlie Rose Interview
Son of Southie Watching Bulger Trial
The Importance and Impact of a Memoir
"The conference was great and Michael Patrick MacDonald was FABULOUS!!! His message hit home with many participants. Michael was professional, passionate and motivational. Some feedback included: ‘Wow, unbelievable story – way to use it to change lives’; ‘A different and true perspective – right from the source of poverty and pain, thank you’; ‘Incredible story!!!"
"Michael Patrick MacDonald gave a powerful speech that enthralled our audience. He’s a compelling storyteller not only on the page, but also in person. Michael Patrick MacDonald takes something as simple as loss and mourning to help bridge racial divides and help others find their voice. His powerful speech resonated across the room in equal parts pain and hope. His is a story all should hear."
"MacDonald’s gift is that he guides us with vision, insight, humor and the clear, chiseled word. His is a rare sleight of hand. But beyond his ability to bring the streets to the printed page, MacDonald breathes added life into those words, assisting others – especially those who come from poverty and trauma – to discover their voices."
"He was FANTASTIC! I would like to chat so I can gush about MPM. Thanks for the introduction!"
"All Souls was for us a fascinating memoir! TechBoston Academy students loved reading a book by someone with a life that was not so different from our own. And having the author in our school created a buzz all through the hallways. To know that the person who lived through such a childhood is alive, well, and giving back is an inspiration to me and my classmates."
"Michael MacDonald's opening day presentation to Fenway High's student body opened our hearts, nourished our souls, and brought clarity to our minds. His message regarding family dynamics, neighborhood politics, and the negative impact of poverty crosses boundaries of race and ethnicity and is as relevant today as when he wrote All Souls."
"Students have an incredible connection to the characters in Michael Patrick MacDonald's ALL SOULS and with the author himself. They go through the emotions with this Southie family, as if they were right there with them. ALL SOULS is an educational tool unlike any other. It truly brings local history alive. Get this author to your school!"
"Speaker and teacher Michael Patrick MacDonald engages audiences, no matter their makeup--all ages, experiences and perspectives leave with a sense of having made a personal connection with this wonderful writer. He delivers uncommon insights; he poses questions that keep audiences thinking, re-evaluating their own ideas long after the event has passed. MacDonald is an asset for any program that prides itself on promoting thoughtful dialogue or connecting audiences to writers and Ideas that matter."
"Michael has spoken at two large engagements and one intimate gathering for me. His style is compelling, his knowledge of all things related to Social Justice extensive, and his sharing of his personal history fascinating. His compassion for others is palpable. Anyone or any organization looking for an intelligent and thoughtful speaker should get in touch with Michael."
"Michael Patrick MacDonald was fabulous again! He is so gracious and generous with his time and chatted with/signed a book for every single participant."
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