Margaret McMullan. Courtesy photo 


We may live in polarized, angry times, but it isn’t a singular moment says author Margaret McMullan. “We’ve been there before, in the years leading up to the Holocaust and the Civil Rights era in Mississippi,” she says. “There were so many similarities in those times and now. The righteousness, the need to find scapegoats for our problems, the fear and fury. The hate. The violence.” 

McMullan will be the featured speaker at The Power of Words: Changing Our World, One Author at a Time, a biennial event hosted by The Friends of the Library and the Monroe County Public Library (MCPL) on Saturday, November 9, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. 

The Friends and the MCPL are hosting a series of events leading up to McMullan’s keynote talk, titled “The Perspective of Memory: Fear, Empowerment, Forgiveness.” To extend the community discussion, there will be a talk on the civil rights movement in Monroe County, a photography exhibition, and a memoir-writing class. As part of her visit to Bloomington, McMullan will also discuss the power of telling stories with Monroe County high school and middle school students.

Monroe County residents are invited to participate in a community-wide reading of McMullan’s newest book, Where the Angels Lived: One Family’s Story of Exile, Loss, and Return. The memoir documents her surprising discovery of relatives she had not known about before and the family’s history throughout the Holocaust in Hungary.

“Stories are powerful, and our most memorable lessons are told through them,” McMullan says. “What’s interesting to me are the accidental heroes of history. Who knows? You might be living with one such hero.

“That’s the way I came to write Where the Angels Lived,” McMullan continues. “Early on, at the Holocaust museum in Israel, I understood that it would be my duty to find out who exactly my relative Richard was, and to tell his story as accurately as I could. That’s powerful—to take someone, a man who was murdered, and to bring him back to life through story.”

For more information and the event schedule, visit