Why There Are Words PDX Launch Event

The insanely wonderful SF-based reading series (and press) Why There Are Words is branching out, with new series in New York and now Portland, Oregon.

I’ll be reading along with David Bielspiel, Elyse Fenton, Jacqueline Keeler, Sara Quinn Rivara, and Wendy Willis.

I hope you’ll be there – the Leach Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful places in Portland.

Hope you come by to help us celebrate.

Best Day of My Literary Life – PEN Hemingway Ceremony

Today was an extraordinary day.

It started with a private tour of the Ernest Hemingway archives at the JFK Library. Wow. Super duper wow. (Sidenote: If you will be in Boston anytime before the end of the year, please go through this phenomenal exhibit.)

Then lunch at a table with, in a room with, some of the most talented American writers, who, it turns out, are also funny and charming and kind in a variety of ways.

Then the award ceremony where Joshua Ferris, presenter and a judge, along with Alexandra Marshall and Jay Parini, of this year’s PEN Hemingway award read aloud the citation from the judges for People Like You. I could not breathe as he read the following paragraph:

PEN Award Framed

And then I couldn’t breathe for two seconds after that either because, oh my sweet stars, did they just put the names Chekhov, Carver, Beattie, Moore and Twain in a sentence about People Like You? But I had no time to not breathe because I had to walk up onstage and accept the certificate and shake hands and pose for a picture and then somehow walk, without falling, all the way back to my seat, and the whole time my heart is not thumping along in my chest cavity the way it’s supposed to. No, it’s flailing, kicking, pushing, punching so loud I wanted to audibly ask it to shush please. But then I thought better of it and thanked my heart for reminding me what an undeniably extraordinary beautiful moment was happening… to me. Right that second.

Nothing left to do, then, but to simply take it all in.

My deepest gratitude to PEN New England; to judges Joshua Ferris, Alexandra Marshall, and Jay Parini; to the winner Ottessa Moshfegh, my fellow finalist S.M. Hulse, and honorable mention honorees Karim Dimechkie and Chigozie Obioma; to the crazy talented editor and publisher Mark Allen Cunningham of Atelier26 Books; to Diane Prokop, publicist extraordinaire; and most importantly to Brian Padian who kept the home fires burning (and the kids from burning the house down) so I could be in Boston, and he not only never once complained but told me again and again of how proud he was, of how much I deserved it, of how hard I’ve worked, of how much he loved me.

All of you, you changed my life today. Really.

Thank you.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU Receives PEN/Hemingway Honors

I am dumbstruck and elated to report that PEOPLE LIKE YOU was selected a Finalist in the PEN/Hemingway Award for first fiction.


From the PEN/New England site:


The two PEN/Hemingway Award finalists are S. M. Hulse for Black River (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and Margaret Malone for People Like You (Atelier26).



Suddenly I find myself in the company of other past winners, finalists and honorable mentions… you know, authors like George Saunders, Edward P. Jones, Jhumpa Lahiri, Colson Whitehead, ZZ Packer, Jennifer Haigh, Marilynne Robinson, Ha Jin, Sherman Alexie, Junot Diaz, Yiyun Li, Lily King, Justin Cronin, Ben Fountain, Teju Cole, Mitchell S. Jackson, and many, many other mind-blowing writers.

Biggest of thanks to PEN New England and this year’s judges, Joshua Ferris, Alexandra Marshall, and Jay Parini.

And big, big congratulations to the winner Ottessa Moshfegh for her book EILEEN (Penguin), my co-Finalist S.M. Hulse for BLACK RIVER (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and honorable mention authors Karim Dimechkie for LIFTED BY THE GREAT NOTHING (Bloomsbury), and Chigozie Obioma for THE FISHERMEN (Little, Brown).

Lastly, never ending thanks to Atelier26 Books, the little engine that could, and Mark Allen Cunningham for making this impossible undreamed-of dream a reality.

To say I’m humbled doesn’t begin to do justice to what I feel today.


Here’s the full post at PEN/Hemingway Award

Here’s the full post at Atelier26 Books

Late Night Library Book Club – Deadline for inaugural book is Nov 6

Late Night Library, the hub of all things literary and full of goodness, has started a monthly book club – they’ll send you a just released, debut book in the mail every month, hand-wrapped with a sprig of rosemary if I’m not mistaken – for the low, low subscription price of $9.99/month. Every other month, they’ll throw in a free book too because they are just that kind of awesome.

The selections will be weighted toward indie publishers, titles by authors of color and women authors, and they’re always debut books.

There is absolutely no good reason for you not to join. I did!


People Like You Book Trailer Is Up!

Many thanks to filmmaker (and all around awesome man) Brian Padian for creating such a beautiful trailer, and thanks to 31Knots for permission to use “Take Away the Landscape” from their album Worried Well. The photos used in the trailer were all my photographs taken over the years, with the exception of one (young me & young Brian asleep, holding hands) that was taken by Corrina Repp.

Take two minutes and three seconds to check it out. I’d be most grateful.

Hang in!