Jan Maher biography

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Jan Maher

Jan Maher

Jan Maher Biography

Jan Maher is currently a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Ethics in Public Life, State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She lives with husband and fellow writer/educator Douglas Selwyn in Greenfield, MA Maher was born in Huntington, Indiana, grew up in Fort Wayne, and also lived in La Porte before leaving the Hoosier State to attend Shimer College in Illinois. She received her B.A. in Humanities from the New School for Social Research, where she also studied acting with Joseph Chaikin and members of The Open Theater. She earned an M.A. in Literature from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies: Theater, Education, and Neuroscience from the Union Institute.

Maher is the author of several plays, including Intruders, winner of Best of Fest honors at the New City Theater Playwrights Festival, Widow's Walk, which earned finalist status in the Actors Theater of Louisville Ten Minute Play Contest, Ismene and The Next County Over. She is co-author of Most Dangerous Women, a musical documentary of the international women's peace movement and of Most Dangerous Women: Bringing History to Life through Readers' Theater. Her poems have been published in Bellowing Ark and Lancaster Independent Press. Her novels are Heaven, Indiana, published by Dog Hollow Press and Earth As It Is (Feb 2017) by Break Away Books, Indiana University Press.



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Interview

Jan Maher discusses Heaven, Indiana, how it was based on her meeting with the daughter of a worker at a carnival, and her own experiences growing up in Indiana.

A chance meeting at a carnival in Huntington 45 years ago is inspiration for Jan Maher's first novel, "Heaven, Indiana." Maher, who lives in Seattle, spent her first seven years in Huntington, where she was born.

"A main theme of the book is the way in which social and political interaction affects us," Maher said during a telephone interview from Heritage College in Seattle. She teaches educational methods, curriculum and learning theory there and has written several plays, essays, and poetry.  Maher, 54, lived at the Huntington home of her maternal grandmother, Louise Miller, from 1946 through 1952. The house was at 652 E. Market St. Jan Maher's father, James Maher Jr., grew up in Marion, but moved to Huntington after marrying Alberta Ruth Miller. Ruth Miller-Lang now lives in Chicago. James Maher Jr. died in 1971 in Cincinnati.

While Maher bases "Heaven, Indiana" on her meeting with the daughter of a worker at a carnival that had made a stop at Hier's Park she said that incident is the only thing autobiographical.  "It's very hard to quantify a work of fiction," the author said. "Fiction is a synthesis of everything. It's a bit of what would happen if you put a certain element ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Jan Maher at BookBrowse
Heaven, Indiana jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Jan Maher but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Daniel Akst

    Daniel Akst

    Dan Akst is a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Slate and other leading publications. His most recent book is We Have Met the Enemy: Self-Control in an... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Heaven, Indiana

    Try:
    The Webster Chronicle
    by Daniel Akst

  • Dayna Dunbar

    Dayna Dunbar

    Dayna Dunbar is a native Oklahoman who currently makes her home in Santa Monica, CA. She grew up in Yukon, a tightly knit farming and grain-milling town in Oklahoma, where most folks were relatives or family friends. This ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Heaven, Indiana

    Try:
    The Saints and Sinners of Okay County
    by Dayna Dunbar

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Book Discussion
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