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Paul Hendrickson

Senior Lecturer

Fisher-Bennett Hall 234
215-898-7821

Paul Hendrickson’s most recent book, Hemingway's Boat, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in the fall of 2011. He spent seven years on it. It was a national best-seller and a finalist in biography for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Chicago Tribune awarded it its annual Heartland Prize.  His book previous to this, Sons of Mississippi, also from Knopf,  won the National Book Critics Circle Award in general nonfiction as well as the Heartland Prize. Sons was published in 2003, and its research and writingwere supported by a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Provost’s teaching award in 2005, Hendrickson worked for thirty years in daily journalism. He was a staff feature writer at the Washington Post from 1977 to 2001. Eventually, he came to understand the truth of the old saying that the legs are the first to go, and that the honorable and difficult business of writing perishable pieces on deadline belonged to younger people. He needed to try to find a place--a home--where he could continue to work on books and the occasional magazine article and to be involved with gifted, creative people. So now, luck beyond dream, fortune beyond hope, he finds himself conducting writing workshops full time at Penn in advanced nonfiction.

The late-coming professor was born in California but grew up in the Midwest and in a Catholic seminary in the Deep South, where he studied for seven years for the missionary priesthood. This became the subject of his first book, published in 1983: Seminary: A Search. His other books are: Looking for the Light: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott (finalist for the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award); and The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War (finalist for the National Book Award in 1996). They, too, were published by Knopf.

Hendrickson has degrees in English from St. Louis University and Penn State. He is married and has two grown sons (both working in media)  and lives with his wife, Cecilia, outside Philadelphia. He has entered the terror, the "long joyful sickness"--as John Updike once called it--of the next book project. It has to do with Frank Lloyd Wright and is being supported at its outset by a second National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship.

Publications

Courses Taught

spring 2017

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  
ENGL 156.301 Writing from Photographs  

spring 2016

ENGL 156.301 Writing from Photographs  

spring 2015

ENGL 145.301 Advanced Nonfiction Writing  
ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2014

ENGL 156.301 Writing from Photographs  

spring 2014

ENGL 145.301 Advanced Nonfiction Writing  
ENGL 160.301 Long-Form Journalism  

fall 2013

ENGL 156.301 Writing from Photographs  

spring 2013

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2012

ENGL 156.301 Writing from Photographs  

summer 2012

spring 2012

ENGL 160.301 Long-Form Storytelling  

spring 2011

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2010

ENGL 156.301 Writing from Photographs  

spring 2010

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

spring 2009

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2008

ENGL 145.301 Advanced Nonfiction Writing  
ENGL 156.301 Writing from Photographs  

spring 2008

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2007

ENGL 156.301 Writing from Photographs  

spring 2007

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2006

spring 2006

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2005

spring 2005

ENGL 199.304 Independent Study  
ENGL 199.312 Independent Study  

fall 2004

spring 2004

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2003

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

spring 2003

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2002

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  
ENGL 199.301 An Analytic Literary Memoir  

spring 2002

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2001

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

spring 2001

ENGL 155.301 Documentary Writing  

fall 2000

spring 2000

spring 1999

ENGL 145.301 Advanced Non-Fiction  

spring 1998