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Literary Warrior Margaret Dilloway

A local novelist on what we can do to up our literary quotients


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Photo by Saflower_Photography

Margaret Dilloway’s first novel, How to Be an American Housewife, was loosely based on her Japanese mother’s life. She returns to her heritage with her third book, Sisters of Heart and Snow, out this month (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $27).

The story follows two sisters from La Jolla reconnecting through their shared past and two women in 12th-century Japan (one a samurai!), as the narrative switches between the different time periods.

The local author, 41, is also working on spreading the (written) word, so to speak. “I still live in the San Carlos/Del Cerro neighborhood and I noticed that the high school [Patrick Henry] had no creative writing club or lit magazine,” she says. “The kids are so slammed with schoolwork these days that few have time to work on their own writing, much less read a book for pleasure.” Still, she managed to form a club where the students write at lunch and she critiques their work once a month.

“The literary scene in San Diego is pretty quiet,” she admits, citing a few organizations like SD Writers Ink, DimeStories, and bookstores that host signings. “It’s hard to get people to come to reading events because there’s so much outdoorsy stuff competing for attention.” Dilloway imagines pairing book readings with other events, like concerts. “It would be great to have something like Seattle’s Bumbershoot [festival] here, with music and dance and visual and literary arts all combined. That way, even if you’re not particularly into books, you’d still have some exposure to them.” To be sure, Dilloway is fighting the good fight. Meet the local warrior at her reading at Warwick’s Books on April 7.

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