Morgan Talty

Hi, I’m Morgan, a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation in Maine and an assistant professor of English here at the University of Maine. I teach Creative Writing, Native American Literature, and contemporary courses in fiction. As a teacher, I love talking “shop” about books: how they work, how they succeed, how they fail, and how they move us. I suppose in other words, I’m interested in the biology of a text from both a writer’s and an analytical reader’s viewpoint. As a writer, I’m deeply intrigued by creative writing—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and the transgressions of their sub genres—and the ways storytelling is told. If the purpose of storytelling is to find truth—is to transcend—how do we as writers write stories that do just that? It’s a question that has a different answer almost all the time, and so we, writers, much be vigilant in our pursuit of answers. As an analytical reader, I’m interested in the ways we examine texts to find truths. My background is Native American Studies, a discipline that has historically scrutinized the way academia examines texts by “the other,” and therefore I, too, am wary in the ways we look at texts to find their meaning(s). In other words, I, along with others in the field, are looking for more suitable forms of critical lenses that examine texts by or about Native writers. 

Apart from teaching, I am the author of the national bestselling and critically acclaimed story collection Night of the Living Rez. My debut novel Fire Exit will be available June 4, 2024, and I could not be more excited to share it with readers! While I’m done working on the novel, I am on to my next project. Well, two to be exact. I’m working on a memoir in essays tentatively titled In a Field of Stray Cats and a story collection titled Doomsday, which explores themes of mental illness in the context of conspiracy theories. For a taste of what that collection will look like, a story that will appear in it is forthcoming in an anthology from Penguin Random House called Never Whistle at Night: An Indigenous Dark Fiction Anthology, which hits shelves September 19, 2023! 

When I’m not teaching, writing, or editing prose for The Massachusetts Review, I’m at home with my wife and our first child, Charlie, reading him Pop-Up Peekaboo stories. I firmly believe he could hold the Guinness World Record for the longest time sitting and being read these books.