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Award winning Portland writer tells her story

The final presentation of the Professional Writers Series concluded the series’ 2017 run with a look at the journey of becoming a writer. Margaret Malone presented a talk called “One Writer’s Path” and discussed the process she went through to become a writer.

Series organizer Howard Aaron introduced Malone. “I could say so many wonderful things about her but I better let her say wonderful things about her,” Aaron said.

Margaret Malone graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy. She currently resides in Portland where she is a co-host for an artist and literary gathering called SHARE. Malone has also volunteered as a facilitator for the non-profit organization Write Around Portland.

Malone’s writing can be found in the “Missouri Review,” “Oregon Humanities,” “Swink” and “Propeller Quarterly.” Her collection of stories entitled “People Like You” was published by Atelier26 and was also a 2016 PEN/Hemingway Award finalist. Malone received the 2015 Balcones fiction prize. The Oregonian, The Portland Mercury, Powell’s Books and The Quivering Pen all selected “People Like You” as book of the year for 2015.

During her presentation, Malone told the story of how she became a writer. According to Malone, she started late in life at the age of 27. It took her 14 years to write and finish her first book “People Like You.” Some of the stories featured in it were written 12 to 13 years ago and she kept re-writing them. When people asked her why she writes she said, “I wrote because I love to write. I wrote short stories because I love to write short stories.”

Malone said she is inspired by Jim Shephard. When responding to questions about wanting to quit, she said, “Keep doing it, if you want a book, keep doing it and it will happen.” She went on to say that stories need a personal touch, stressing that writing is only genuine when it comes from the heart. When she thinks a story is done, she asks herself, “Is there a little bit of my blood in this story?” Malone then finished by reading a story from her book and answering the rest of the audience’s questions.

For more information about Margaret Malone, visit her website at http://www.margaretmalone.com/.

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