Margaret mcnellis


when I was small, I forced my parents to read Winnie the pooh and the blustery day and goodnight moon to me on an almost nightly basis. they were good sports, and my love for stories was nurtured.

an “elder millennial” (as iliza Schlesinger puts it), I came of age with home computers. the apple ii gs was a big deal because it could display colors on the screen. as a kid, my dad would play one of my favorite games with me on that computer: mother goose.

by the time I could read longer works, my mom and I would read together. I remember sitting in her room with her, taking turns reading chapters of little house on the prarie, Anne of Greene gables, and little women. I didn’t know it at the time, but I believe now these books were forging an early appreciation and love for historical fiction.

when I was a bit older, I remember my parents giving me an extra bookcase to house my growing collection of books. for my 30th birthday, they gave me the entire vintage collection of Yale’s complete works of Shakespeare.

I am a book nerd, a story fanatic. I have a candle that smells of old books (or tries to), and I love the sound new books make when I open them. I own a kindle but only use it for travel, and I love old books, even if they’re a little beat up.

as a writer, I first got into writing fiction when I started penning Harry Potter fan fiction, including a novel-length work featuring Sirius black trapped in the form of a giant canary. from there, I moved on to write horror for a little while, and tried my hand at fantasy.

though I still like a little paranormal element or magical realism from time to time, I found my way back to historical fiction, this time as a writer, after tackling pillars of the earth by ken Follett (I even wrote to him and he wrote back; it was super exciting).

I earned my mfa in fiction on June 22, 2019, from the mountainview mfa program. i earned my m.a. in English & creative writing in 2015. my b.a. in art history was conferred in 2007.

my short stories have appeared in fictitious magazine, see spot run, dual coast magazine, the Copperfield review, the penman review, z publishing’s anthology of Connecticut’s emerging writers, and assignment magazine.

I received honorable mention in the winter 2015 flash fiction contest by wow - women on writing. in 2019, i won the student fiction contest for a spot in assignment magazine, the literary magazine of the mountainview mfa. i also received the Lynn safford memorial prize (for fostering camaraderie among my peers) from the mountainview mfa program.

when i’m not writing fiction or researching the past, i’m teaching English to college students.