Where do Peter Orner’s characters come from? Will the global pandemic appear somehow in his future work? And what comes next for the award-winning author and Dartmouth College professor? Orner joins Alta Asks Live and host Heather Scott Partington on Wednesday, May 20 at 12:30 p.m. PST to discuss his short story collection, Maggie Brown & Others, and much, much more.
Buy the book: Maggie Brown & Others
Read Alta Asks: Talking with Peter Orner
Read Peter Orner’s short story, “Above Santa Cruz,” published in Alta.
About the book and author
In his orchestral and moving new book, Maggie Brown & Others, Peter Orner, a writer who “doesn’t simply bring his characters to life, he gives them souls” (New York Times Book Review), chronicles people whose lives are at inflection points. In forty-four compressed gems, he grips us with a series of defining moments. Whether it’s a first date that turns into a late-night road trip to a séance in an abandoned airplane hangar, or a family’s memories of the painful mystery surrounding a forgotten uncle’s demise, Orner reveals how our fleeting decisions between kindness and abandonment chase us across time. These stories are anchored by a poignant novella that delivers not only the joys and travails of a forty-year marriage, but an entire era in small-town New England. Bristling with the crackling energy of life itself, Maggie Brown & Others marks the most sustained achievement to date for “a master of his form” (The New York Times).
Peter Orner is the author of six books, most recently Maggie Brown & Others, a New York Times Notable Book and an Oprah Magazine Best Books of 2019. His memoir/essay collection, Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A longtime San Franciscan, he currently teaches at Dartmouth College.
About the moderator
Heather Scott Partington is a writer, teacher, and book critic. She is the winner of an emerging critic fellowship from the National Book Critics Circle and the critic in residence for UC Riverside’s Palm Desert MFA program. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Los Angeles Review of Books among other publications. She lives in Elk Grove, California, with her husband and two kids.