Photo by Kevin Allen, Kevin Allen Photography
Mary L. Tabor—author, mother, grandmother—graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland with a BA in English (’66), from Oberlin College with an MAT in English and education (’67), from Ohio State University with an MFA in Creative Writing (’99). She went back to college for that last degree the year she turned 50 after a 16-year career in corporate America, a senior executive, director of public affairs writing for the oil industry’s trade association, landing her in both Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women. She is also a Fellow in The Institute for Citizens & Scholars and the CIC Visiting Fellows  (formerly aka Woodrow Wilson Fellow). 

Mary published her first book of fiction The Woman Who Never Cooked at age 60. She loves to say, "It ain't over 'till it's over."

Mary adores her children: a daughter-philosopher Sarah Hammerschlag, who is a professor at the University of Chicago, and is married to the philosopher (yes, the two philosophers married each other) Ryan Coyne, who is a professor at the University of Chicago; her son-wine importer Ben Hammerschlag (1971-2017 Mary's tribute to her son), who has appeared in Food and Wine’s "Best Under Forty" among other worldwide recognitions for his work; her stepson-military attaché Chris Persinger, who is currently on assignment in Afghanistan, and his wife Jess, who has the honorable-and-today-rare title of Stay-at-Home-Mom. Mary has three grandchildren: Jericho Persinger and Madisson Lorimar, the precious progeny of Chris and Jess, and Lila Anastasia Coyne who arrived in the love of Sarah Hammerschlag and Ryan Coyne in 2009.

She couldn’t have taken the risks she took without the love of these incredible people in her life.

The love of her life will always be Del Persinger: The complex story of their marriage and separation is the stuff of her memoir: (Re)Making Love: A Memoir. The memoir, a story of the good, the bad and the foolish after Del said, oh, so Greta Garbo, “I need to live alone” pulls no punches. Mary tells the story of her four-year separation from Del, her Internet dating, the sex, the falling in and out of “love,” and the redemption of her marriage against all odds. She rediscovered life, sex and love after sixty. Join her on the journey that unfolds in this story she wrote “live” as a blog while she lived it and ultimately discovered the meaning of commitment—with all its difficulties and joys.

Her novel Who by Fire: a novel,  as Lee Martin, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Bright Forever, in his review explains "is a lyric meditation on love and desire, one that will catch you up in the blaze of its eroticism, its tender evocation of love and the passions and accommodations of a life lived through the flesh and through the imagination. Can memory lead to forgiveness? Who by Fire explores that question in a story I won’t soon forget. The beauty of the prose, the nuances of the characters, the ever-building plot—everything is in place for a novel that will touch you in all the right ways."

Mary and her husband live in Los Angeles, California.


  1. Dear Mary,
    Beautiful About Me page. As you know, I've read all your work and through your teaching, have become a better writer and reader. I encourage anyone who is serious about their writing, to work with you and do the intensive course. However, today, what got me in revisiting your website, is this:

    Chris Persinger, who is currently on assignment in Afghanistan, and his wife Jess, who has the honorable-and-today-rare title of Stay-at-Home-Mom.

    Thank you, Mary. As a stay-at-home-Mom, who has entered and left the workforce on and off, with a military husband and the constant need to adapt...thank you for valorizing us moms and the work we do. Anne Tyler also said it beautifully and honestly in "The Writer on Her Work" (edited by Janet Sternburg pages 3-16.)

    Looking forward to reading your new work...

  2. Great comment, isabelle. And I too adore Anne Tyler!


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