Michael Mott

Michael Mott

Michael Mott (December 8, 1930, London - ) is the author of ten poetry collections, four novels and a best-selling biography of Thomas Merton.[1]


Life and career

Mott was born in London. His father was a solicitor and his mother was a sculptor from Denver, Colorado.[2]:113-115 Mott was educated in America and England. After his service in the British Army, he attended Oriel College of Oxford University, then art school and a year traveling in Europe and the Middle East. Mott then began his literary career taking a job in 1956 as the editor of trade journal, Air Freight. In 1957, his first collection of poetry, The Cost of Living, was published.[2]:125-127

On May 6 1961, Mott married Margaret Watt, a fashion designer, at St. John's Wood Church, London.[2]:128 In 1962, as the couple welcomed twin daughters, Mott's first novel The Notebooks of Susan Berry was published.[2]:130 Reviewer Kenneth Allsop writing for the Daily Mail called the book, "a brilliant first novel."[2]:127 Between 1961 and 1964, Mott worked as a book editor at Thames & Hudson and then as an editor at The Geographical Magazine (1964–1966). During this time, his first juvenile novel, Master Entrick was published in 1964 in the UK.[2]:129-131 The book was released in 1966 in the U.S. and a full twenty years later in 1986, a second edition was released as a Dell Yearling edition.

In 1966, Mott was invited to teach at Kenyon College and to be the poetry editor of The Kenyon Review. While at Kenyon, Mott continued to publish poetry and fiction, publishing Helmet and Wasps and The Blind Cross[3]

During the 1970s Mott and his family lived in Atlanta, Georgia. Mott taught at Emory University as Writer in Residence. Both Michael and Margaret, a costume designer with The Alliance Children's Theater and weaver,[4] were active in Atlanta's budding arts scene. In 1972, he cofounded the Callanwolde Readings Program, which highlights poets and writers, with poet Turner Cassity. In 1974, Mott received the Governors Award in Fine Arts from then Governor Jimmy Carter.[3]

In 1978, Michael Mott was commissioned to write the authorized biography of Thomas Merton. The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton was published in 1984. The biography remained on the non-fiction The New York Times best-seller list for nine weeks.[citation needed] The book has had nine printings with 60,000 copies sold to date. Winner of a number of awards, the biography was the runner up for the Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1985.[5]

Mott was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1979.[6] In 1978-1979, and again in 1985-1986 Mott was Writer-in-Residence at the College of William and Mary. He holds a Christopher Award and other awards, and has an honorary doctorate from St. Mary's College, Notre Dame.[3] Mott's wife Margaret died of cancer in 1990. In 1992, Mott married Emma Lou Powers, he retired, Professor Emeritus, after eleven years teaching at Bowling Green State University. He currently lives and writes in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Published Works


  • The Notebooks of Susan Berry, Andre Deutsch (U.K.), 1962; MacMillan Company (U.S.), 1963; Mayflower-Dell Paperbacks (U.K.), 1964.
  • Helmet and Wasps, Andre Deutsch (U.K.), 1965; Houghton Mifflin (U.S.), 1966; Granada Paperbacks (U.K.), 1970.
  • Master Entrick, Andre Deutsch (U.K.), 1965; Penguin Puffin (U.K.), 1969; Delacorte (U.S.), 1966; Dell Yearling (U.S.), Second Edition, 1986.
  • The Blind Cross, Andre Deutsch (U.K.), 1969; Delacorte (U.S.), 1969.


  • The Cost of Living, Adam Books, London, 1957.
  • The Tales of Idiots & New Exile, Adam Books, London, 1961.
  • A Book of Pictures, Outposts Publication, London, 1962.
  • Absence of Unicorns, Presence of Lions, Little, Brown & Co., Boston, 1976.
  • Counting the Grasses, Anhinga Press, Tallahasee, FL, 1980.
  • Corday, Beacham Publishing, Washington, D.C., 1986. (Republished in paperback by Black Buzzard Press, Falls Church, VA, 1995.)
  • Piero Di Cosimo: The World of Infinite Possibilities, Tinhorn Press, Atlanta, 1990.
  • Taino (with drawings by Adrian Tri Diaz), Russell McKnight, Logan Elm Press, Columbus, OH 1992.
  • Woman and the Sea, Selected Poems, Edited by Walton Beacham, and introduced by George Garrett, Anhinga Press, Tallahassee, FL., 1999.
  • The World of Richard Dadd, Margie/Intuit House Press, Chesterfield, MO, 2005. ISBN 09719094014, Winner of the 2004 Robert E. Lee & Ruth I. Wilson Poetry Book Award. Introduction by Dara Wier.
  • His poetry has also appeared in numerous journals including American Scholar, Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Sewanee Review, Stand Magazine, Tar River Poetry Review, Times Literary Supplement, Verse[7]



The Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University houses The Michael Mott Collection. This includes drafts and notes for Mott’s published and unpublished works, both poetry and prose; journals, diaries and notebooks from 1944–1988; and correspondence with his publishers and with fellow writers from 1965-1989.[9]


  1. ^ Mott, Michael (1984). The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton. Harvest Books. ISBN 0-15-680681-9. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Zadrozny, Mark (1988). Contemporary Authors: Autobiography Series. 7. Gale Research. ISBN 0-8103-4456-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i International Who's Who in Poetry. 2004. p. 231. http://books.google.com/books?id=JhXmEYWHDHYC&pg=PA231&lpg=PA231&dq=Governor's+Award,+Ga,+Michael+Mott&source=bl&ots=aBKReietbO&sig=ttkYcFnni3Mft3fkz7dCn0AWpxQ&hl=en&ei=1J08TeiEJ8P48Ab-xoydCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CEAQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  4. ^ "History". Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild of Atlanta. http://www.chgweb.com/about_history.html. 
  5. ^ "Pulitzer Prize list". Pulitzer Prize committee. http://www.pulitzer.org/bycat/Biography-or-Autobiography. 
  6. ^ "List of Guggenheim Fellows". http://www.gf.org/fellows/all?index=m&page=26. 
  7. ^ Poets & Writers, 2010
  8. ^ "List of recipients of the Nancy Dasher Book Award". http://www.englishceao.org/wp/about-us/ceao-benefits/nancy-dasher-award/past-recipients-of-the-nancy-dasher-book-award/. 
  9. ^ Collection Title: Michael Mott Collection, 1944-1989 ; Call number/identifier: Manuscript Series LIX; Repository: Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections , Evanston, IL

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