Fourth-generation Oregon author Molly Gloss will be talking about her latest book, “Unforeseen: Stories” (2019), her first retrospective of short stories as well as two new stories, on Saturday, October 19, 4:50 to 5:40 p.m., in room A at Sisters Middle School as part of the Sisters Festival of Books.

Gloss has authored a handful of award-winning novels and a number of prize-winning short stories in several different genres including literary and historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. Her awards include: the Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, the PEN West Fiction Prize, the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. Her short story “Lambing Season” was a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Her work often concerns the landscape, literature, mythology, and life of the American West.

Gloss credits her interest in writing about the West to “the long road trips our family took when I was a girl, back and forth to Texas to visit my dad’s extended family. I was hooked on cowboy novels at the time (12 years old or so) and we were driving across the Western landscape of those novels. I guess those trips imprinted on me in some way. And as a result, I’ve been thinking and writing about the mythology of the West for more than 35 years.”

Part of her intent has been “trying to nudge the myth a little bit away from violence and masculinity, toward community and women and peaceful solutions. Even my science fiction sometimes leans into those themes.”

Gloss’ stories reflect her broad interests and are wide-ranging in style and voice. Her own major and minor losses inform her stories. She thinks that often grief is not written about honestly in fiction.

“Grief deepens who we are. That’s been my own experience,” she said.

She went on to say there is a “set-point of happiness” that is unique to each individual.

“After either loss or great good fortune, your mood may go up or down, but you always return to your set point of happiness,” Gloss explained.

“The difficulty of being a mother of a young child and a writer made me a better writer,” Gloss believes. She explained that being the mother of an infant puts you in touch every day, all day long, with the really big issues that literary writers want to write about. Love, loss, power, the struggle between two people of strong opinions, war – are all involved.

Growing up near Gresham when it was still all berry farms, Gloss attended Portland State University. She now resides on the west side of the Tualatin Hills outside Portland, where she gives her time and attention to her 24-year-old horse and her 10-month-old first grandson, while also working on a new short story.

Saying she is a slow writer, Gloss indicated she has no plans to write a new novel, given it can take her up to six years to produce one. She does write two poems a month for a group of women poets to which she belongs. She’s never published any of them, but she said, “Maybe one of these days I’ll get serious about that.”

As to her participation in the inaugural Sisters Festival of Books, she told The Nugget, “I haven’t done much touring or reading from ‘Unforeseen,’ but I couldn’t pass up the chance to take part in Sisters’ first Festival of Books! I’m very much looking forward not only to sharing my own work with readers, but also sitting in the audience for many of the other authors I admire … Les AuCoin, Joe Wilkins, Kim Stafford. It’s a great lineup, an embarrassment of riches! Hopefully the first of many annual festivals!”

Tickets for festival events are available online at