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Patricia McMahon


Patricia McMahon is a poet and the author of fourteen books for children. The founder and Director of the Moss Wood Retreats, she will support this years Generative Writing workshop with poet Josh Kalscheur.

Her award winning work includes non-fiction, pictures books, middle grade novels and poetry for adults. Patricia McMahon’s innovative non-fiction titles include ONE BELFAST BOY, LISTEN FOR THE BUS, CHI-HOON, and DANCING WHEELS.   Her books have been recognized by IBBY, the International Board of Books for Young, the Smithsonian Institution and the Rhode Island and Georgia State awards

Patricia’s writing has been called “powerful and provocative,” as well as “unique and side-splitting hilarious.”  She believes in the union of the light-hearted and the substantive, and refuses to believe the two cannot be wed.

Patricia’s belief in the meaning and importance of children’s literature, both as works of literature and in the lives of children has guided her career.  A graduate of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, she has worked in Children’s publishing at Little, Brown and Company, as a children’s bookseller and is a Past President of The Foundation for Children’s Books. 

Patricia has been a consultant to publishers in both marketing and editorial work for both adult and children’s books, and particularly enjoys manuscript evaluations and critique with emerging writers.  For many years she has taught creative writing in schools and libraries and other settings all over the world, to writers of all ages.

A committed traveler, Patricia has lived on four continents making her home in settings as varied as densely crowded cities and isolated small towns, and once, on the world’s largest construction site.  She currently lives with her family in Houston, Texas.  For many years, for some part of every year, she has traveled to her beloved Cape Rosier.

Conor McCarthy

Assistant Director

Conor McCarthy’s first visit to Cape Rosier predates his own memory; he continues to travel annually Down East for inspiration.  He prefers, whenever possible, to be water-bound upon Penobscot Bay. 

Among other responsibilities, he manages Moss Wood's digital portfolio.  He has worked as an editor on fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction lists, and as a program coordinator for the Special Olympics.

Conor is an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame, from which he graduated in English and Irish Studies, and to which he returned for his postgraduate-level work.  He served as the program chair for the university’s literary festival, and as the young alumni representative on Notre Dame’s Ireland Advisory Council.  He increasingly believes that an essential question faced by writers in the present moment is how their art helps us to be better stewards, students, and friends of the earth.