Mary L. Tabor was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her B.A. in English from University of Maryland, her M.A.T. from Oberlin College, and her M.F.A. from Ohio State University. She now lives in Washington, D.C., where she is a lecturer for The Smithsonian Resident Associates Program and teaches creative writing at George Washington University.
Ms. Tabor, the mother of three children now in their thirties, had spent all but one year of her professional life as a writer and teacher—including sixteen years working in the public affairs department for the American Petroleum Institute—before returning to school in order to study creative writing. “After my divorce, while I was supporting my children, I worked my way up from junior editor to senior director at API, managing some half-dozen public-affairs writers. My job refused to define me,” Ms. Tabor says. “I was forty-nine when my youngest child graduated college. I signed the last tuition check, quit my job, and started writing.”
In 1999 Ms. Tabor received a fellowship award from Ohio State University for her thesis-in-progress, a collection of short stories. Since then, she has received many awards and nominations, and her work has been published in several prestigious journals.
Frederick Busch writes of The Woman Who Never Cooked: “This book has an adult sense of wisdom earned through pain, a combination of compassion and narrowed, cold eye, and a clarity of understanding of sexuality I find unique. I loved reading about these women: grown-ups written well are rare. I found the collection richly made, unafraid, full of woundedness and strength.”
Ms. Tabor, who will be sixty when her book is published in Spring 2006, has earned her wisdom. “When I was in my twenties, my older sister became ill with diabetes. She died at 53. My mother died, and then my father,” she says. “I write to understand the betrayals of love and marriage and divorce, illness and death. Finding a way through confusion is the stuff of living and writing.”
Mary L. Tabor shares her winning recipe for delicious fictions, one that balances passion with restraint, measures the exhilaration of love against the acceptance of its loss.
Photo of Mary L. Tabor by Kevin Allen, Kevin Allen Photography