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Renowned NM Author Urges Writers to Avoid Being Pigeon-Holed

Photo and Article by Charlie McKee

Photo: Michael McGarrity speaks to a full house at WNMU Global Resource Center.

On Friday evening, Apr. 25, the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning (WILL) Artist Lecture Series featured Michael McGarrity, author of the acclaimed Kevin Kerney New Mexico mystery series. McGarrity repeatedly emphasized to the audience that he disliked the "mystery" categorization of his novels and dislikes categorization or "pigeon holing" in general. He has written 12 "crime novels," as he prefers to call them, in the Kerney series, including Mexican Hat, which is set in Catron County.

McGarrity told the writers in the audience that they simply need to focus on the story they are telling, without trying to think of how to label it. He is currently in the process of breaking out of the Kerney "crime novel" mode and writing a trilogy that is a grand story of a family of the American West – the Kerney family – and he is loathe to categorize it as "historical," "Western" or anything else. Backlands, the second in the trilogy, is just being released, following on Hard Country. Winner of the 2004 New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, McGarrity said that he is just "trying to tell the very, very, very best stories that I can. I am flat-out lucky."

Today, Saturday, Apr. 26, the community can hear McGarrity speak again at the Silver City Public Library's "Second Chance" presentation and book signing at 10:00 am.


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