Introduction for Margaret Malone
February 18, 2018
by Virginia Bellis Brandabur
Our next reader, Margaret Malone, is the author of People Like You, a collection of stories which has earned her many accolades, including the 2016 PEN Hemingway Award Finalist for First Fiction and the 2016 Balcones Fiction Prize. She is the recipient of grants from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, an Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, and an Oregon Literary Fellowship in Fiction. Her stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Masters Review, Swink, Paper Darts, Oregon Humanities, and The Missouri Review, among others. Margaret has been a volunteer facilitator with the non-profit Write Around Portland and is a co-host of the artist and literary gathering SHARE. She teaches creative writing at Literary Arts and at the Independent Publishing Resource Center.
Reading Margaret’s stories can be a little like walking in on someone in the bathroom – uncomfortable, a little humorous, but there can also be some vexation at the main character of each of these stories for having not locked the bathroom door, for having exposed you to their indelicate intimacy. And that is exactly the power of Margaret’s stories, this indelicate intimacy, which is a kind of raw truth-telling, in that you’re forced to face a reality or emotion – loss, alienation, ambivalence, or just the inescapable loneliness of modern-day life – that you would maybe rather not acknowledge. Yet, at the same time, having read these stories, there is an uneasy sense of complicity – in that same way that you can’t un-see what you’ve seen in that bathroom, you can’t un-know what Margaret shows you in these stories. But that’s where the analogy ends – unlike walking in on someone in the bathroom, reading Margaret’s stories is something you ought to do, you want to do, and that you’ll be absolutely glad to have done.
Please welcome Margaret Malone.