Ann Garvin On Traveling — And Returning Home — As Creative Inspiration

By Laura Anne Bird  |  Photography by Hillary Schave  |  Shot on location at the Wisconsin Historical Society Library Reading Room

Where in the world hasn’t Ann Garvin been?

In the last year, she has spent chunks of time in California and France, among other enviable spots.

“I do travel quite a lot,” she says. “It opens up my ability to understand people, because I’m out of my bubble and have to adapt to new social cues and surroundings. Discomfort and awe spark my mind like nothing else.”

While Garvin admits that she can write literally anywhere, she says, “Madison is home. It’s where I recharge, find my center and get back to my routines. Plus, my dog is happiest here.”

In her little house by Henry Vilas Zoo, she taps into the abundance our city offers.

“Madison is the kind of place where characters hide in plain sight, and nothing stays the same — students, the weather, the roads. This continual change mirrors the evolution that the protagonists enjoy in my stories,” she says. Indeed, Garvin’s four (soon to be five) novels — “I Thought You Said This Would Work,” “I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around,” “The Dog Year” and “On Maggie’s Watch” — center on the growth of women who are real, relatable, funny and tragic.

As Garvin decides where to head next, she knows one thing for sure. “There are so many authors and writers who live in Madison, which means story and storytelling is a high priority and interest. If you’ve ever wanted to be a writer, this is a place for inspiration. If you’re a reader, it’s a mecca.”

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