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Molly McCaffrey

July 30, 2012 • Memoir writing

This summer I've been working on my memoir about being adopted and meeting my biological family, and it has occurred to me that writing a memoir is like entering a tunnel of dark memories. You're never really entirely sure you want to go inside, and you can't see the light on either end when you're in the middle of it.

 

June 1, 2012 • Crossing the Country

My husband and I are crossing the country this summer—driving from Kentucky to California and then to New York. We've already completed the first half of our trip, and you can see the photos on our Tumblr blog here: Across the Great Divide. Hope you enjoy them!

 

April 20, 2012 • The Southern Kentucky Bookfest is here!

The Southern Kentucky Bookfest is happening this weekend in Bowling Green. The biggest bookfest in the state of Kentucky will feature more than a hundred authors including Carl Hiassen, Lee Martin, Bobbie Ann Mason, Robert Olmsted, Robert Morgan, Larry Sweazy, Will Lavender, Alan Shapiro, Nicole Reid, Molly Shapiro, Cynthia Ellingsen, my husband David Bell and me. Hope to see you there!.

 

April 17, 2012 • The 2012 Pulitzer: Nobody Wins!

The Pulitzer committee failed to pick a winner in the fiction category this year. Apparently, they were unable to decide between Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace. It's disappointing that they didn't pick a winner, but their decision also allows us the opportunity to ask what's wrong with a system that chooses three books as finalists that have not really engaged the public. I'm not saying a book has to be a best-seller to be an award winner, but it should at least be a book that non-academic readers enjoy. Because this is too often not the case, it feels like a good time for a re-examination of how awards in fiction are given. Like the Academy Awards, the Pulitzer and other major book prizes too often reward books and films that are too far outside the mainstream—books that feel as if they are written for editors and other writers, not for readers. And this year's non-Pulitzer in fiction proves it's time to fix that problem.

 

April 5, 2012 • Better late than never?

Many people labor under the fantasy that they will publish their first book before they turn thirty. I was 41 when I published the first book I wrote by myself, and the truth is most writers don't do that until they're around that age.

Consider the following...

Age at which Alice Munro published her first collection of stories, Dance of the Happy Shades: 37.

Age at which George Saunders published CivilWarLand in Bad Decline: 38.

Age at which Willa Cather published her first novel, Alexander’s Bridge: 39.

Age at which Toni Morrison published her first novel, The Bluest Eye: 39.

Age at which Wallace Stevens published Harmonium, his first book of poetry: 44.

Age at which Marilynne Robinson published her first novel, Housekeeping: 37.

The truth is that good writing requires a lifetime commitment. How old will you be when you publish your first book?