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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:

Is It Better to Show or Tell?
Thurs | June 1 |  6-7:30pm | DR
Writers are often advised to "show, don't tell," but what does that mean? Writer in Residence Marylee MacDonald will use excerpts from writers who tell more than they show and from writers who tell, rather than show.

The Hero's (Heroine's) Journey
Thurs | June 8 | 6-7:30pm | RM
From The Odyssey to Lord of the Rings, the plots of many beloved stories have a common mythic element. Learn how to give your heroes and heroines the tools they need to bring back the magic elixir. Work with Writer in Residence Marylee MacDonald to learn about storyboarding, a technique used to help visualize your novel.

Where Do Writers Get Story Ideas?
Fri | June 9 | 2:30-4pm | MN
Fiction ideas can come from snippets of conversations, newspaper articles, hobbies and jobs. Learn from Writer in Residence Marylee MacDonald how to find inspiration for your next story.

Should You Self-Publish or Find an Agent?
Thurs | June 15 | 6-7:30pm | RM
In order to get published, you need to transform your manuscript into a book. Writer in Residence Marylee MacDonald will discuss the pros, cons, and steps you will take should you decide to submit your work to an agent, contract with an independent publisher, or self-publish.

Q&A with Writer in Residence Marylee MacDonald
Fri | June 16 | 2:30-4pm | MN
Bring your questions about all the nuances of writing and publishing and our Writer in Residence, Marylee MacDonald, will answer them.

Craft a Legacy Book
Thurs | June 22 | 6-7:30pm | RM
We all have stories to tell, especially from the days before cell phones and the internet. Learn how to record these stories, get your words transcribed, and transform your memories into a book. Work with Writer in Residence Marylee MacDonald to write the stories only you can tell.

Listening for Voices
Fri | June 23 | 2:30-4pm | MN
Each character in your story has a particular way of speaking and, often, the story itself has a voice. Work with Writer in Residence Marylee MacDonald to discover ways to listen for and develop a voice that's right for your story

How Can You Find Time to Write?
Thurs | June 29 | 6-7:30pm | RM
As busy as we all are, finding the time to write seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Learn strategies from Writer in Residence Marylee MacDonald for dealing with procrastination or with simply having a life that's overbooked.

Why Do Readers Insist on Likable Characters?
Fri | June 30 | 2:30-4pm | MN
Readers and agents pass judgment on characters, and if your character isn't likable, readers will put your book down and agents will take a pass. Writer in Residence Marylee MacDonald will show you how to create flawed but likable 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.