Biographical Information:

Dates: 1944 -Dates in Ridgefield: 1970s
fiction, short stories,mentor for Young Writer's Institute (Hartford)
A few good words from a teacher can mean a lot to a student. For Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, it meant a career. Ms. Smith is the author of a five novels, the most recent of which, An American Killing, has been widely acclaimed and has sold more than 160,000 copies. A Ridgefielder since 1970, Ms. Smith grew up in Hartford; her 1994 novel, Masters of Illusion, is about the famous 1944 Ringling Brothers circus fire there. One day at Hartford Public High School, an English teacher told her that "your writing flows like a river." Her reaction was both wonder and a determination to develop her talent. "Being raised a Catholic in the 50s meant you were always singing that damnable hymn, 'Oh Lord, I Am Not Worthy.' That to me was the human condition. Obviously I didn't like it since I was so thrilled and relieved to know that maybe I could do something well." The results began to appear in book form when her novel, The Book of Phoebe, appeared in 1985. There have been short stories, including ones about her Peace Corps experiences in Cameroon, and four more novels, including Port of Missing Men, whose title, but not plot, was inspired by a turn of the century resort on West Mountain. In her 30 years in town, Ms. Smith was active in a co-op preschool, the Norwalk River Project, and managing concession stands for Little League. Since 1991, Ms. Smith, who knows how a critical eye and a kind word can help a budding author, has been involved in the Young Writer's Institute, a Hartford-based program in which professional writers become mentors for promising writers from Hartford-area high schools. "That these writers are 15 does boggle the mind," she said of their talent.
Titles (partial):The Book of Phoebe, 1985Lament for a Silver-Eyed Woman, 1987An American Killing: A Novel, 1998Girls of a Tender Age: A Memoir, 2006She Smiled Sweetly: A Poppy Rice Mystery, 2004
–Sources: Notable Ridgefielders–Jack Sanders; Amazon.com, author page