Writer in Residence

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Mesa Public Library is excited for the next phase of our Writer in Residence pilot program in partnership with the Arizona State Library. June 1 - August 31, we will welcome Marylee MacDonald as our Writer in Residence. 


Marylee MacDonald is a former carpenter, literary magazine editor, and journalist. She has taught fiction, creative nonfiction, and literary editing for Arizona State's Piper Center for Creative Writing and for River Oak Arts in Oak Park, Illinois. Her short story collection, Bonds of Love & Blood, was a Finalist for Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Awards, and her novel, Montpelier Tomorrow, won a Gold Medal for Drama from the Readers' Choice International Book Awards. She is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships for Fiction, and the winner of the Barry Hannah Prize, the American Literary Review Fiction Prize, the Ron Rash Award, and many others.

MacDonald will be using the Main Library’s board room as her public work space, where she’ll develop fascinating plotlines, create memorable characters, write sparkling prose, and wrestle with writer’s block. She’ll also be available to give guidance to other aspiring writers via one-on-one appointments, and will present several writing workshops.

For more information about her work, visit her website or check out one of her books from our collection.

To schedule a one-on-one appointment, please visit the signup form

Writer in Residence Workshops:

Mesa Writers Workshop
Wednesdays | 3:30pm – 5:30pm | MN
Writers of any level are invited to connect with other wordsmiths to read and critique works-in progress.

The Writer is In! Power Writer with Marylee MacDonald
Thursdays | 12:30pm – 3:00pm | MN
Set aside time to concentrate and write. Bring your writing tools and come ready to work alongside fellow writers.

How to Handle Characters' Thoughts
Thurs | Aug 3 | 6:00pm – 7:30pm | DR
Readers enjoy spending time inside of characters' heads, but rendering a character's thoughts can be tricky. Journey through the process of rendering thoughts without the common mistakes of head-hopping, italicizing, or switching from third- to first-person points of view.

Social Media for Authors
Thurs | Aug 10 | 6:00pm – 7:30pm | RM
If you've published a book or are about to publish one, learn how advanced social media tools can help you build an audience. Discover apps like Nimble, Meet Edgar, LeadPages, Canva, PicMonkey, Hootsuite, ScoopIt, and Designrr.io.

Unfolding the Road Map of Your Novel
Fri | Aug 11 | 2:30pm – 4:00pm | MN
Every trip needs a roadmap. Learn how to use the magic two-sentence method that will transform your character's wandering path into a compelling tale.

The Top 10 How-To Books for Authors
Thurs | Aug 17 | 6:00pm – 7:30pm | RM
The library is a great resource for writers. In this presentation, Writer in Residence Marylee MacDonald reveals her personal favorites and some of them may surprise you!

Microtension Turns Pages
Thurs | Aug 24 | 6:00pm – 7:30pm | DR
Big plot elements are important but it's the microtension events that make the reader continue to turn the pages. We'll explore the nuances of microtensions using a single passage from author Margot Livesey's novel Homework.

Secondary Characters Spice Things Up
Fri | Aug 25 | 2:30pm – 4:00pm | MN
Does your book begin with a character who can't remember who or where he is? Explore what happens when secondary characters enter the story using theater games. Come prepared to play your part!

How to Create Memorable Characters
Thurs | Aug 31 | 6:00pm – 7:30pm | RM
How well do you understand your characters? In this workshop we'll talk about character worksheets and how they can help you develop complex, memorable characters.

This project is supported by the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.