The Hippo


Jun 18, 2019








Meet Meghan Kenny

Toadstool Bookshop: Lorden Plaza, 614 Nashua St., Route 101A, Milford, Thursday, Aug. 3, at 6:30 p.m., 673-1734,
Newtonville Books: 10 Langley Road, Newton, Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m., 617-244-6619, 
The MacDowell Colony’s Medal Day
Where: 100 High St., Peterborough
When: Sunday, Aug. 13; medal ceremony honoring filmmaker David Lynch at 12:15 p.m., picnic on the grounds at 1:15 p.m., open studios from 2 to 5 p.m.; order picnic baskets by midnight on Sunday, Aug. 6
Tickets: These are in the form of sponsorships that start at $20
Contact:, 924-3886

Old stomping grounds
Former resident on new books and returning to NH

By Kelly Sennott

 Meghan Kenny timed her summer venture to New Hampshire so she can attend the MacDowell Colony’s Medal Day — which this year honors filmmaker David Lynch — with her family on Aug. 13.

“It’s a beautiful place, if you haven’t been there before. It’s the only day during the whole year they open it up to the public. If it’s nice out, you can wander through various studios [housing] writers, painters or musicians. Often times, there are some pretty famous people hanging out there,” said Kenny, a Pennsylvania writer who attended the Derryfield School in the ’90s and who returns to the state regularly to visit her family’s house in Grantham.
While going to Medal Day is a top item on her agenda, Kenny figured that while she’s here, it made sense to hold a few author events promoting her own short story collection Love Is No Small Thing: Stories, published in March by LSU Press. Her only New Hampshire stop is Thursday, Aug. 3, at Milford’s Toadstool Bookshop. 
One of the stories in her collection, “These Things Happen,” is set in a small coffee shop inspired by one she used to frequent in Milford. Another, “The Genius of Love,” takes place in Vermont. The rest are set around the country, from Idaho, where she earned her MFA in creative writing at Boise State University, to Wisconsin, where her grandparents lived.
All are stand-alones and tackle the theme of love in one way or another, from familial relationships and romance to the love between old friends. There are tales of infidelity, disappointments, losses and expectations, which are delivered via bird sanctuaries, cross-country road trips, Halloween nights and skydiving. 
“I think [love] is sort of a mystery, but also the core of humanity and human nature. I think we all want to love and be loved. And of course, [love] doesn’t always go according to plan or very smoothly. And then in those times, it’s about, how do people reset, refocus and push on?” Kenny said via phone.
It’s a busy time for Kenny. She teaches at Lancaster Country Day School in Pennsylvania and for the Gotham Writers Workshop, which is based in New York but offers classes online. This fall, she leads a Contemporary American Writers course at Johns Hopkins University. 
In addition, she’s readying for the release of her first novel, The Driest Season, to be published by W.W. Norton in February 2018, about a teen and her family who struggle to move on after she finds her father hanging in their barn.
Both books have been “a long time coming.” Kenny started the collection in graduate school but struggled to find an agent when she first tried to sell it about 10 years ago.
“When they kept saying, ‘Oh, we like your stuff, but we’d like to see a novel,’ I put the stories aside and spent years writing the novel. By the time I went out to get an agent, I’d written more short stories and had changed the nature of the collection,” she said. “I don’t think it was really apparent to me [the collection] was about love until I started putting it together again.”
Kenny credits, in part, teachers at The Derryfield School and the setting of her old home for her love of reading and writing. She has since learned a lot about the craft — mostly, that you’re not going to feel like you know what you’re doing, particularly with a novel. The trick is to push forward anyway.
“I think having a lot of time in the woods allows you to have an active imagination,” Kenny said. “But it’s really hard. I don’t know any better how to write the next one. It sounds kind of foolish, and it’s true.”

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