Biography

Morgan Talty is a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation, and the author of the critically acclaimed linked story collection Night of the Living Rez (USA: Tin House Books 2022; UK: And Other Stories 2025), winner of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize for Best First Book. His writing has appeared in Granta and The Guardian amongst others, and he was selected by Karen Russell as a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree. Talty is an Assistant Professor of English in Creative Writing and Native American and Contemporary Literature at the University of Maine, Orono, and he is on the faculty at the Stonecoast MFA in creative writing as well as the Institute of American Indian Arts. He lives in Levant, Maine.

Reviews

Colin Barrett 

‘Fire Exit is a hypnotic, assured and sumptuously controlled novel. With cool compassion, Talty draws us right inside the skins of his cast of lost, wandering, wondering souls, and makes us feel “what it was like to feel invisible inside the great, great dream of being”.’

Tim Winton 

‘With its scrupulous reflection of wounded, dogged humanity, Fire Exit reminds us of why we still look to fiction for something beyond diversion and entertainment.  This is soul food. For all its thwarted hopes, ceaseless yearning and mortal mess, here is an act of imaginative solidarity to admire and be grateful for.  I loved this book.’

Tommy Orange 

‘Fire Exit, Morgan Talty’s debut novel, is utterly consuming. With this book, Talty more than fulfills the promise of his glorious short story collection, Night of the Living Rez. The storytelling is both spellbinding and quietly devastating. The novel is ultimately about family and belonging, about the stories we need to know even when they threaten to burn our lives down. A father desperately wants to let his daughter know about her body’s secret history, even while his mother forgets her son altogether. This book is filled with humour, and humanity’s strange wonder at its own desperation and depravity, as only Talty can do, with his subtle charm and crystalline prose, his sober reckoning with what love can and cannot do, what healing is and is not possible in our families. The novel absolutely smoulders.’

Brandon Taylor 

‘Fire Exit is gorgeous. A genuinely original examination of the costs we pay to tell ourselves certain stories about who we are and where we come from. Talty is a revelation on matters of the heart, particularly the tenderness and warfare of contemporary manhood. This is that rare thing: a frankly honest novel about hard things written without a trace of bitterness. I loved it.’

Karen Russell 

‘Talty’s writings feels to me like a gift of many lifetimes. Forgiveness, Morgan shows us, is also the work of a lifetime. The people to whom we feel closest can somehow be right beside us in the kitchen and simultaneously on some unreachably distant planet. People rotate away from each other for days or seasons at a time, and it’s miraculous when they return to find each other again, turning towards each other instead of away. It’s a treacherous thing, to love another person in this world that mixes so much beauty with so much sorrow. Thank you for reminding us, Morgan, that it is the necessary thing.’  

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