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Life Span

Molly Giles

June 25, 2024

Molly Giles remembers when her father came back after WWII in 1945. Her memoir, Life Span (WTAW Press, 2024) opens when she is three years old, sitting in the front seat of a moving van as her father drives from San Francisco to their new home in Sausalito. Well-known editor and author of four story-collections and two novels, Giles referenced the journals she began writing at age nine to create a memoir filled with moments and thoughts from her eight decades so far. The Bay area is the backdrop for much of her life, although she spent fourteen years teaching in Arkansas. She delves into family relationships, husbands and lovers, siblings and children, teaching and editing, and the struggles of a being a single mother before women were accepted into the work force. In brutally honest prose, Molly dissects her life with a critical eye, never sugar-coating her failures or glorifying her successes, of which there were many.

Molly Giles’s first collection of short stories, ROUGH TRANSLATIONS won the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction. Four subsequent story collections—CREEK WALK, BOTHERED, ALL THE WRONG PLACES and WIFE WITH KNIFE, have also won awards, including the San Francisco Commonwealth Silver Medal for Fiction, the Spokane Short Fiction Award, and the Leapfrog Press Global Fiction Prize. She published her first novel, IRON SHOES, in 2000, and, twenty-three years later, published its sequel, THE HOME FOR UNWED HUSBANDS. Her work has been included in numerous anthologies including the O.Henry and Pushcart Prize (three times), and she has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Marin Arts Council, and the Arkansas Arts Council. Molly Giles has taught fiction writing at San Francisco State University, University of Hawaii in Manoa, San Jose State University, the National University of Ireland at Galway, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and at numerous writing conferences, including The Community of Writers and Naropa. She has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Book Reviewing, been awarded residences at MacDowell, Yadoo, and The House of Literature in Paros, Greece, and has edited many published writers, including Amy Tan.

Molly enjoys cooking, but she doesn’t love it, what she loves is reading cookbooks in bed, licking salt off her fingers after a light supper of Fritos. She also enjoys gardening (the watering part not the weeding) and watching the resident fawns graze what’s left of her lawn. Molly is a passionate reader and though she often forgets both keys and wallet, she never travels without a book in her purse. She lives in Woodacre, CA.

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