James Alan McPherson, prize-winning author, dead at 72

James Alan McPherson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning story collection "Elbow Room" and a longtime faculty member at the University of Iowa's prestigious Writers' Workshop, has died.

McPherson died Wednesday at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City from complications of pneumonia, according to Iowa program secretary Deborah L. West. He was 72 and retired from Iowa in 2014.

A native of Savannah, Georgia and graduate of Harvard Law School, McPherson became the first African-American to win a fiction Pulitzer when "Elbow Room" was cited in 1978. His other works included the story collection "Hue and Cry" and the memoir "Crabcakes."

He taught at several schools, notably at Iowa, home to one of the country's oldest and most elite creative writing programs.