Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Molly Moynahan  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT C:YA Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: 1957 in Princeton, New Jersey


Illinois Connection

In 1996, she and her family moved to Chicago Illinois, where she currently resides.

Biographical and Professional Information

Molly Moynahan was born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1957. She is the youngest daughter of two impressive parents and the youngest sister of two impressive siblings. Before she reached the age of twelve, Moynahan had lived twice in London and once in Ireland for years that changed her life. Socially, they marked her as an outcast with a funny accent. Intellectually those years provided her with a jump start on her literary career.Molly attended Rutgers University and Trinity College, Dublin. At Rutgers she studied with the world famous historian E.P. Thompson and also took a variety of amazing English literature classes. Since there were no required courses at this time, Moynahan also studied modern dance, acting and ceramics for three years. During her freshman year she was cast as the lead in a production of "Riders to the Sea" a production that caused great controversy since many in the audience giggled despite its tragic themes.While living in Ireland, she was tutored by a world famous Joyce scholar and attended lectures given by members of the faculty that had been present during the Post Office Rebellion. Moynahan's acting career took off. She was frequently featured on the front page of the Irish Times both for her activities and her general fame of being New Jersey native.Upon her reluctant return to stateside, Molly graduated with highest honors and moved to Hoboken. During these years, Moynahan continually wrote but never sent anything to be published. In 1988, while working as an assistant editor at Random House and Bantam, Doubleday and Dell, Moynahan began writing a novel without realizing it was a long short story. This became her first published work: Parting is All We Know of Heaven. (Harper Collins 1990) Despite critical accalaim (mostly positive), the novel did not change her life, but did help her decide to get an MFA at Brooklyn College, where she had a very positive experience and wrote her next published work: Living in Arcadia (Bantam-Transworld 1991)Having published two novels and several short stories (Mademoiselle, North American Review) Moynahan obtained a number of excellent albeit part-time teaching jobs at Rutgers College, Drew University and others. She won several writing fellowships (Djerassi Foundation, Helene Wurlizer Foundation, etc) and found teaching to be very rewarding. After attending the MLA job fair she was offered a full-time position as a creative writing professor at Florida State University. However, she fell in love with a journalist from the Wall Street Journal, and after six months the couple moved to London, where Moynahan gave birth to a son, Luke Helliker in October 1993.Despite her pregnancy, Moynahan obtained a job teaching creative writing in London at The City Lit and began working on a feature film that,eventually, would be optioned by British screen. In 1994, the young couple moved to Dallas, Texas -- where Luke's father was made Bureau Chief and his mother dyed her hair blonde and went slightly mad. Nothing in her life prepared her for Dallas, yet, she went and was hired to teach at SMU and The University of Dallas. She also helped found a writers organization called THE WRITER'S GARRET.In 1996, the family moved to Chicago Illinois. But, as fate has it, the couple separated. Moynahan became employed at Columbia College, Loyola Chicago and DePaul University. She, then, decided to seek employment as a high school instructor, took the exam and began teaching English in 1998.Moynahan is now a journalism/creative writing teacher at Evanston Township High School. While working full-time and being a single mother, she wrote her novel STONE GARDEN which was sold at auction by her agent Jane Gelfman in August 2002. STONE GARDEN was chosen to be a featured alternate by the Doubleday Literary Guild Book Club The novel was also chosen by The New York Times as a Notable Book of 2003. The work was a Booksense 76 for 2003, and has been nominated by the American Library Association for Best Young Adult Book of 2004. Currently Moynahan is writing a new novel set in Dallas, Texas. She is happily a City of Chicago dweller (although she also yearns for the ocean and is threatening to buy property in Mexico).

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- *The New York Times as a Notable Book of 2003, ''Stone Garden''