Friday, February 9, 2024

Photo by Sonya Sones

Welcome! I'm Kathy and I write poems, short stories, and novels. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad. Often poignant. With vivid characters. Whether wacky or heartbreaking, I hope my writing makes you laugh or cry or want to know more. 

You'll read about love and loss, the joys, sorrows, and secrets in families, and women who want to be mothers and women who aren't so sure.

You'll dive into longing. Regret. Failure, Recovery. And hope. With startling metaphors and unforgettable images, I like to explore difficult truths and meaning-of-life stuff and, all the while, include humor and upliftment when I can. 

My Novel

The Secret Letter Writer is my debut novel (WIP) featuring the unforgettable, cantankerous, and deeply moving Ruby Gold. She's certain she has failed at what matters most: men, marriage, money, motherhood, Mahjong, even the molding of matzo meal into artery-clogging dumplings. To make matters worse, she's never recovered from the death of her son Neal who was beaten up by five bullies nearly forty years ago. Ever since her retirement six months ago, she has started writing letters, emails, and notes, most never to be sent, to the famous and her family and friends trying to understand herself, her life, and her failures. 

Now that her daughter Sarah is about to adopt, Ruby is certain life will get better: she’ll have a grandson to cherish. But what if the adoption fails? A motorcycle-riding podiatrist brings Ruby new opportunities for love. First, she must face the ways that Neal’s death haunts her and her daughter.

Set in Indiana and Chicago, The Secret Letter Writer is about confronting secrets between mothers and daughters, the stories we tell in families and the ones we don’t, the struggle to overcome grief and guilt, and the confusion and joy of finding love late in life after a terrible loss. Stay tuned for more news about it!

The Secret Letter Writer wins Bronze "Finest First Five" contest

In Dec. 2023, the first five pages of my novel won Bronze in the Off-Campus Writers Workshop (OCWW)  "Finest First Five" contest. Thank you to OCWW, Chicagoland's premiere writers' workshop, for sponsoring the contest. And thank you to James Abbate, Associate Editor, Kensington Books, the contest judge.

Awards for The Secret Letter Writer

Off-Campus Writers Workshop (OCWW), Gold Prize, Humor contest for fiction for “Letting Go,” an excerpt from The Secret Letter Writer

Off-Campus Writers Workshop (OCWW), Bronze Prize, "Finest First Five" contest


"Kathy Mirkin's "Letting Go" is a concise, humane, and hilarious exploration of loss, disappointment, aging, and the search for love whose absurd, amusing touches never detract from the sympathy the narrator has for her flawed, sad characters. It reminded me of Jincy Willett, one of my favorite (and to me super-funny) fiction writers."

Kathleen Rooney, author of From Dust to Stardust

In “On Seeing Pablo Neruda’s Isla Negra Home in the In-Flight Magazine,” poet Kathy Mirkin explores the gulf between sky and sea. Her verse grapples with an urge, as a poet, to understand another poet, to understand her own father, to ask questions that will never be answered. She manages to illustrate a conflict between the human need to understand one another and the reality that each individual contains within them, the unknowable."
Jose Nateras, Windy City Reviews

And There's More

I also write poetry and fiction for children. Picture books in rollicking rhyme about monsters. And a chapter book (WIP) about Kikki Klein who longs to be a ballerina but needs to discover her true talents.

Follow Me on Twitter and Facebook

I'm taking a hiatus from blogging. But I'm active on Twitter and Facebook. Follow me for writing and reading news. Find out about the latest top picture books. Discover new novels for children and for adults. Meet talented writers you might love. Tickle your funny bone with humorous news and links. And much more!