Author Margaret Combs is Today’s Honoree


About The Book:

Hazard is a poignant, unflinching memoir of the emotional intricacies of growing up with a severely disabled sibling. Margaret Combs shows how her Southern Baptist family coped with lived reality of autism in an era of ignorance and shame, the 1950s through the 1970s, and shares her own tragedy and anguish of being torn between helping her brother and yearning for her own life. Like many siblings of disabled children, young Margaret drives herself to excel in order to make up for her family’s sorrow and ultimately flees her family for what she hopes is a “normal” life.

Hazard is also a story of indelible bonds between siblings: the one between Combs and her sister, and the deep and rueful one she has with her disabled brother; how he and she were buddies; and how fervently she wanted to make him whole. Initially fueled by a wish that her brother had never been born, the author eventually arrives in a deeper place of gratitude for this same brother, whom she loves and who loves her in return.

About The Author:

Margaret Combs began her writing life as a National Public Radio reporter in New England and education correspondent for the Boston Globe. Her early work as a journalist and syndicated feature writer heightened awareness about student learning styles, social equity in schools and also child health. Her documentary work on children of incest was awarded the Tom Phillips New England Broadcasting Award for Best Documentary, as well as the Sigma Delta Chi Meritorious Public Service Citation.

While writing for Parenting Publications of America, Margaret garnered first-place awards for excellence in journalism four years in a row. Her award-winning articles included the health risks of guns in the home and the environmental impacts of disposable diapers on solid waste landfill.

In recent years, Margaret’s story-telling skills have extended to literary memoir. Her book, Hazard: A Sister’s Flight from Family and a Broken Boy chronicles the emotional intricacies of growing up with a brother who has severe autism. Excerpts from her book have appeared in literary magazines, including the North American Review and Lost magazine.

Now living on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, Margaret is Director of Communications for The Northwest School in Seattle. Prior to moving to the west coast she worked as Director of Communications for The Cambridge School of Weston, near Boston, and as Senior Writer and Manager of Public Relations for Tufts University. For both institutions she increased visibility in major media outlets, including, among others, NBC’s World News Tonight, CNN, and the Boston Globe.

Margaret is the proud mother of two sons, Jesse and Alex Aronson, both artists, who live and work in Los Angeles.

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