about the author

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Maureen Hourihan

Children's Writer

  • Writer
  • Teacher
  • Tutor
  • Artist
  • Daydreamer

Early Years

As a young girl growing up in western Massachusetts, I loved my Crayola crayons, my stray cats, and my EZ-Bake Oven. Oh, and daydreaming. I was an expert daydreamer. But I also loved books and was happiest when I had a big pile of picture books at hand.  I was star-struck when I learned that Theodor Geisel had once lived nearby, I recognized the whimsical animals which resembled those from Forest Park Zoo and the tall buildings downtown and even the round-faced policemen. Convinced he wrote “To Think That I Saw it Mulberry Street” just for me, I could not imagine anything better than writing for children like Dr. Seuss.


At 19, I left Springfield and moved to Cape Cod. Enchanted by the beaches,  galleries, and the Old King's Highway, I searched for antiquities and was perfectly content working at a hodge-podge of jobs including a pre-school, a sheltered workshop, a group home for children, various restaurants,  and a stained glass studio. I cleaned the crude oil from the beaches when a tanker wrecked, and later sold antiques, houses, land, and even repurposed vintage jewelry. But all the while I held fast to my dream of writing for children.


After I married and had a young son, my desire to read and write childrens’ books intensified. I began teaching 4th grade at the tip of the Cape. Now there were piles and piles of books and we read them all. My favorite was Charlotte's Web. Every year I’d read E.B. White’s magnum opus to my fourth graders. And every year I'd get choked on the last page. You know the part about “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” One of my students would always have to take the book and finish. That was it. I decided to take some time and begin to write. We took a year off and sailed 4,000 miles on the Blue Moon where I began to write poems, journals, and short stories. Still dreaming of writing a children's novel, I stepped away from teaching full time to write.

First I wrote a play called Slow Train Coming about two daughters and their dad with Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m happy to report that it’s been staged many times on Cape Cod and the  Vineyard. I wrote and published assorted short stories and articles including a monthly magazine column called Vintage. I joined SCBWI, and found the camaraderie and support.

Earning an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College gave me confidence and to work on a middle-grade novel, called My Stupendous Fall from Grace which won the Marion Dane Bauer Award. I was also a finalist for the Katharine Patterson Prize at VCFA. My agent Erzsi Deak of Hen and Ink Literary Studio gave me another boost of confidence. I've begun another middle-grade novel called Voyage of the Osprey, about two feuding brothers who must sail their dying dad’s  yawl to him in the Chesapeake Bay. I also have several picture books manuscripts out on submission. One story about getting a reluctant toddler to sleep recently won SCBWI’s Marguerite W. Davol Award.


These days when I’m not writing or teaching a homeschooled pod of elementary school children, I can be found holed up with a good book, playing with our ornery Maine Coon cat, or creating an unnecessarily complicated cake. And I'm still an expert daydreamer.