Michael Patrick MacDonald


Michael Patrick 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 by becoming a leading Boston activist, organizer and writer.

MacDonald is the author of the New York Times Bestselling memoir, "All Souls: A Family Story From Southie" and the acclaimed "Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion." These two books are often selected as First Year Experience reads, for which MacDonald is available to speak at colleges and universities. 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. MacDonald has written a number of essays and short stories, including "The Resurrection of Cornelius Larkin" and "An Immigrant’s Tale," written for the Dropkick Murphy’s theme album “Going Out in Style.” He is also a regular contributor to The Boston Globe’s Op Ed page.

As an activist, MacDonald has focused his efforts on multi-cultural coalition building to reduce violence and promote grassroots leadership from our most impacted communities. He has developed Gun Buyback programs and local support groups, which give voice to adult and youth survivors of poverty, violence and the drug trade. MacDonald is on many local and national boards, including the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat The Odds Essay Selection Committee, Crittenton Women’s Union National Advisory Committee, and Families First of Greater Boston Advisory Board.

MacDonald serves as Author-in-Residence at Northeastern University’s Honors Department, where he teaches his curricula: “Non-Fiction Writing & Social Justice Issues” and “The North of Ireland: Conflict, Reconciliation, and a Lasting Peace with Justice" every fall. He is also a Guest Lecturer at California State University, Northridge CA during the spring and at The University of Mannheim in the summer.

MacDonald is currently completing the screenplay for "All Souls" and is working on his third book, which will use narrative non-fiction storytelling to reveal issues of trans-generational trauma in our communities. In addition, he has developed a community-based writing and healing curriculum, Transforming Trauma: Finding Your Voice, which is currently being used with the Crittenton Women’s Union in Boston to help women who are transitioning out of poverty find their voices on the page and in the world. 

MacDonald is a contributing editor at the Schuster Institute.