Member News: My Father’s Closet by Karen McClintock just released – A Willamette Writers Conference “Pitch for the Prize” Winner

Karen McClintock’s memoir, “My Father’s Closet” was just released by Ohio State University’s Trillium press.

Thirty years after her father’s death, Karen McClintock sets out to find the gay father she never really knew. As we follow the unraveling fawmily secret, we find ourselves drawn into her story as they stumble into infidelity, grieve heartbreaking losses, and remain loyal in love.

This gripping memoir captures the longing children feel for a distant or hidden parent and taps into the complexity of human connection and abandonment. The characters are resilient and vibrant. The hidden lovers, the nosy neighbors, and surprise lovers all show up. In the end, this extraordinary family finds ways to connect and freedom to love. Anyone who grew up with a family secret will appreciate the dynamics afoot in this fast-paced and compelling story.

Karen McClintock won Willamette Writers Conference’s “Pitch for the Prize” two summers ago. She writes: The workshop by Jennifer Lauck at the Willamette Writer’s conference helped me to develop the plot points needed when a love triangle of no small proportion showed up in my story. Finding the man my father secretly loved for many years confirmed my sense of his gay identity. With rave reviews from Oregon Shakespeare Festival director Bill Raush and Fun Home pictographic author AlisonBechtel, the book is off to a great start! Thank you, for also boosting my chances to tell a heartfelt story of a midwest family and to get us all farther out of My Father’s Closet.”

“From the outside, the McClintocks looked about as wholesome and midwestern as it gets. But on the inside, a bewildering emotional vacuum was taking a complicated toll. Karen McClintock reconstructs the details of her father’s double life with novelistic flair, keen psychological
insight, and graceful compassion.” —Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home (2006), Are You My Mother? (2012), and 2014 MacArthur Fellow

Karen A. McClintock, PhD. is a psychologist, author and congregational consultant. She belongs to a weekly writing group, is a member of Willamette Writers and has four published books. Raised in a closeted family in Columbus Ohio, she moved west to attend seminary at Pacific School of Religion and thereafter worked as a parish pastor and chaplain. She assisted healthcare providers with multiple-loss grief during the AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco Bay area. For the past fifteen years she has been an adjunct professor at Southern Oregon University, teaching human sexuality and a dozen additional courses in the psychology department. She has a thriving general practice as a psychologist and has taught workshops in over 40 states in the U.S. on ways to eradicate sexual shame. She engages in conversations about sexuality that are life affirming, while creating safety and healing. She is passionate about liberating LGBTQ individuals and family members from secrets and shame. She won the Southern Oregon Lambda Community award for her outspoken advocacy for LGBTQ individuals and their families.