RELATIVE STRANGERS was chosen by celebrated author Jill McCorkle to receive the Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman. In McCorkle’s words: “Relative Strangers is a stunning collection of stories. Every single story is vivid and memorable, and yet, equally powerful is the collective thematic effect. So many of these characters are strangers within their own families and their own lives – people thought to be dead are resurrected and another's survival is akin to death. Change, loss, alienation; it’s all here. But so is humor and compassion and a fresh spin on the way people deal with the most vulnerable aspects of life. The range in vision is also powerful as we view – in one story – the adult world through the eyes of an adolescent who senses in his mother’s tremor ‘an earthquake unsettling my world’ and then just as easily we view life from the other end of the spectrum as characters look back on the change and loss and choices that shaped everything in life that followed. This movement between innocence and experience is constant as is the weighing of love against passion and lust. Margaret Hermes is a wonderful writer and this is a moving and powerful collection.”
Margaret Hermes grew up in Chicago and lives in Saint Louis. In addition to short stories and essays that have appeared in journals such as The Missouri Review, New Millenium, and The Literary Review and in anthologies such as 20 Over 40 and Under the Arch, her published and performed work includes a novel, The Phoenix Nest, and a stage adaptation of an Oscar Wilde fable. When not writing, she concentrates her energies on environmental issues.