Cloister (Carroll) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—January 22, 1943
Where—Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., USA; Wiesbaden, Germany
Education—B.a., M.A, St. Paul's College (Seminary)
Awards—National Book Award-Nonfiction; PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award-Nonfiction
Currently—lives in Boston, Massachusetts


James P. Carroll is an American author, historian, and journalist. A Roman Catholic reformer, he has written extensively about his experiences in the seminary and as a priest, and has published books on religion and history, as well as works of fiction.

Early years and priesthood
Carroll was born in Chicago, Illinois, the second of five sons of late Air Force General Joseph Carroll (DIA), and his wife Mary. At the time, his father was a Special Agent of the FBI, which he remained until being seconded to, and later commissioned by, the US Air Force as an Intelligence Officer in 1948.

After this, Carroll was raised in the Washington, D.C. area and in Germany. He was educated at Washington's Priory School (now St. Anselm's Abbey School) and at an American high school, the H. H. Arnold, in Wiesbaden, Germany. He first attended Georgetown University before entering St. Paul's College, the Paulist Fathers' seminary, where he received his B.A. and M.A. degrees.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1969. Carroll served as Catholic chaplain at Boston University from 1969 to 1974. During that time, he studied poetry with George Starbuck and published books on religious subjects and a book of poems.

He was also a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter (1972–1975) and was named Best Columnist by the Catholic Press Association. For his writing on religion and politics he received the first Thomas Merton Award from Pittsburgh's Thomas Merton Center in 1972.

Literary career
Carroll left the priesthood and the Paulist Fathers in 1974 to become a writer, and, in the same year, was a playwright-in-residence at the Berkshire Theater Festival. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Carroll's plays have been produced at the Berkshire Theater Festival and at Boston's Next Move Theater. In 1976 he published his first novel, Madonna Red, which was followed by nine others.

He has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, and his op-ed column appears weekly in The Boston Globe. He won the 1996 National Book Award for Nonfiction for An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us—a memoir about the Vietnam War and his relationships with his father, the American military, and the Catholic Church.

In a November 14, 1996 New York Times interview, Carroll explained why he wrote it:

I thought I would feel better. One of the effects of telling the story as I experienced it was for it to be redeemed, made meaningful. At the end, I found myself deeply in touch with the tragic aspect of the life we live. It's a highfalutin word, but there's something tragic to the story I told.

Nevertheless, after completing it, he said, instead of feeling relief, "I put my head down, and I wept."

He is the author of other books on religion and politics, including House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power (2006), which won the first PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for non-fiction. Mr. Carroll's other works include the novels The Cloister (2018), Secret Father (2003), The City Below (1994), Memorial Bridge (1991), Prince of Peace (1984), Mortal Friends (1978), and Madonna Red (1976)

He has also written various plays and a book of poetry, Forbidden Disappointments (1974). Carroll's work has received the Melcher Book Award, the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award, and National Jewish Book Award in History, and has been frequently been named among the Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times.

Academic recognition
Carroll has been a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at the Harvard Divinity School.

He is a trustee of the Boston Public Library, a member of the Advisory Board of the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life at Brandeis University, and a member of the Dean's Council at the Harvard Divinity School.

Carroll is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the Academy's Committee on International Security Studies. He worked on his 2006 history of the Pentagon, House of War, as a Scholar-in-Residence at the Academy. Carroll is also a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Suffolk University in Boston, where he wrote his latest book, Practicing Catholic, published in 2009.

Carroll married the novelist Alexandra Marshall in 1977. They have two grown children and live in Boston, Massachusetts. (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 3/30.2018.)

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