The Short Story

Maura Ellen Stokes received an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. As a lifelong athlete who coached girls’ soccer, she often incorporates sports into her fiction. When she’s not writing, she works as a biostatistician. Stokes is a New England native who now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Fadeaway is her debut novel.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

The Long Story

I grew up in Concord New Hampshire, where I was reading when I wasn't outside playing wiffleball, shooting baskets, or riding my bike.  A jack-of-all trades, I liked all subjects in school, although languages and art didn't like me! I should say living languages because I did just fine in Latin. Although a misunderstanding with a certain nun meant that I spent mornings one summer translating much of Caesar's Gallic wars.

I went to college thinking I would major in either history or computer science, and I ended up playing on the golf team and majoring in biostatistics. This was a blessing to my classmates in chemistry, who did not appreciate my cavalier ways in the lab. After grad school in biostatistics, and settling into that career,  I missed writing and took workshops at Duke to get back into the swing of it.  The first short story I submitted got published, and I thought this was pretty easy.

It is not. 

I found myself writing about younger characters and decided to make a commitment to writing for children, so I joined the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. That experience was a life-changer, and that community sustains me now. I still work as a biostatistician, and so I write in the early morning and on weekends.  I live with my family in Chapel Hill, and I'm still reading when I'm not outside walking our dogs or riding my bike.