Indiana State University Newsroom

McMullan to give reading

April 6, 2012

Indiana State University will host novelist Margaret McMullan as a visiting writer on Thursday, April 19. She will present a book reading at 3:30 p.m. in Heritage Lounge, followed by an autograph session.

McMullan, professor and Melvin M. Peterson Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing at the University of Evansville, is the author of six award-winning novels and recipient of a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Her work has been published in numerous journals, including The Sun, Chicago Tribune, and National Geographic for Kids.

During the session at ISU, McMullan plans to read a short story from "Aftermath Lounge," as well as an excerpt from her latest novel, "Sources of Light."

"Aftermath Lounge" is a collection of short stories about the time following Hurricane Katrina. The story is set on the Gulf Coast in Pass Christian, Mississippi, a town which was wiped out by the natural disaster.

"Sources of Light" is set in Mississippi during the early 1960s. After the death of her father, a young girl named Sam and her mother must move back to Mississippi. However, their liberal views clash with the town's conservative ideals during this Civil Rights-era story. Sam uses her camera to expose the need for social justice.

"The legal issues for the Civil Rights movement have been settled, however, the sociological, educational, and economic issues remain with us, and are, in many ways, more difficult to sort out," said McMullan, who developed her idea for the book after growing up in Mississippi.

She hopes that readers come away with a better understanding of the complicated history of the Civil Rights Movement. "But in the end, I just want to tell a good story," she said.

McMullan said she loves all the steps of the writing process, including creating story ideas, researching and travelling.

"But I also really appreciate the time spent with words and sentences -- that alone-time when it's just you and the work," she said.

McMullan became interested in writing during high school, when a teacher submitted one of her short stories to a contest sponsored by Scholastic Magazine. Her story won.

"I got a gold pen and Mrs. Lowey's [my teacher] approval," said McMullan. "I was hooked."

The reading is free and open to the public. More information about McMullan and her work can be found at her website,

Photo: McMullan

Writer: Bethany Donat, media relations assistant, ISU Office of Communications and Marketing,