After spending several years as a social worker in the Kansas City area, Laura Moriarty started writing her first novel, The Center of Everything, a coming of age story about a precocious young girl growing up with her single mother in the eighties. The novel is not autobiographical; rather, Moriarty drew on some of the people she met as a social worker as the inspirations for her characters, using the Reagan years as a historical and cultural backdrop. The Center of Everything was published by Hyperion in 2003, allowing Moriarty to write full-time.
Moriarty’s second novel, The Rest of Her Life, was published in 2007. The Rest of Her Life is about a young woman who accidentally kills a pedestrian with the family car; the book tracks the emotional consequences her family must face, and also how the accident changes the relationship between the young woman and her well-intentioned, but troubled, mother. Her latest novel, While I'm Falling (Hyperion) is already the winner of the Elle Readers' Prize. The novel looks deeply at the relationship between a daughter and a mother when one is trying to grow up and the other is trying to stay afloat.
Moriarty has spoken at numerous venues and events, including the Midwestern Booksellers Association Tradeshow, women’s conferences and schools in the Kansas City area. Her awards include the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing, Phillips Exeter Academy, and being named one of Kansas University’s ‘Women of Distinction, 2004.”
Moriarty has also taught literature and writing classes. She lives with her daughter in Lawrence, Kansas.
Praise for While I'm Falling:
"Turn off the phone, lock the door and order takeout before opening this sweet, straight-through read that leaves no loose ends dangling. . . . It is the familiar turf of mother-daughter relationships that primarily engages [Moriarty]. In her careful and knowing hands, Veronica, Natalie and the rest emerge as characters readers will care about."
-- Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
"While I'm Falling deftly captures the moment a child realizes that growing up means being responsible for your parents' mistakes -- and preventing yourself from making the same ones. Laura Moriarty keeps getting better and better."
-- Jodi Picoult
"Veronica's story is told with a clarity and humor that make both her descent and her recovery believable. Recommended for readers who enjoy coming-of-age novels and intelligent chick lit."
-- Library Journal
Praise for The Rest of Her Life:
“Are the sins of the parents visited upon the children, or vice versa? Laura Moriarty’s raw, honest novel about an ordinary family whose life changes in oneextraordinary moment resonates like an emotionaltuning fork. You’ll be asking yourself what you would do in this situation, long after you’ve finished reading.”
—Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister’s Keeper and Nineteen Minutes
“Laura Moriarty writes with unflinching honesty and clear-eyed compassion about the worst fear that parents can imagine – except the death of a child. Her characters are real as mirrors and sentiment never crosses the line to sentimentality. Laura Moriarty can do this surpassingly well. I carried this book everywhere I went.”
— Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean
“Jodi Picoult lovers, listen up! Here, finally, is someone as good as she is.”
— Entertainment Weekly
“Your heart will break for both Kara and her mother, Leigh…” — Redbook
“Deftly dramatic” — USA Today
“…Moriarty’s novel shows that it is not literature’s job to be uplifting, or even to be beautiful. It is literature’s job to say yes, to every corner of every life: yes to disaffected characters… as well as to winsome ones…; yes to grief as much as to solace; yes to wrongdoers as well as to the wronged; and yes most of all to ‘our weak attempts… to feel each other’s burdens.’”
— Washington Post Book World
“The Rest of Her Life means to be piercing and at the same time exacting. When it comes to mothers and daughters, Moriarty gets it right, never more so than when things go wrong.”
— New York Daily News
“…an intelligent, provocative and memorable novel.” — The Kansas City Star
Praise for The Center of Everything:
“An intelligent and charming debut novel.” — Elle
“A warm, beguiling book full of hard-won wisdom.” — The New York Times
“Impressive.” — Los Angeles Times
“Filled with insight and rooted very firmly in love.” — Glamour
“Deadpan and dead-on, this funny, moving portrait of unready adolescence reads like To Kill a Mockingbird updated for our time.”
— Mark Costello, author of Big If
“Laura Moriarty’s first novel… is pretty irresistible almost from the first paragraph: a comic and precisely observed tale of growing up and leaving home in Reagan’s America, it also manages to circle back and hit us where we live now.”
—The New York Observer
“A sweet, often comic series of tender moments spun from real-life battles.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“Reminds the reader of the full spectrum of youthful experience in all its beauty, anger, and pain…lively and endearing.”
—Denver Post & Rocky Mountain News
“Magic was spun…by Alice Sebold in The Lovely Bones and it is spun again by Moriarty.”
“Engaging…her voice sounds oddly familiar… like that of Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, only older, savvier, and less fortunate.”
“A winning first novel.” — Entertainment Weekly
“A Kansas-based story full of affection, humanity, wisdom… Novelist Laura Moriarty knows that even if you’re living in what others call ‘the middle of nowhere,’ you’re still in the thick of things: your own life.”
—Kansas City Star
“The great strength of this debut novel is the wonderfully clear voice of its protagonist.”
“Graceful and poignant.” — Chicago Tribune