Alumni Stories

Patricia McArdle

Writer of Personal Experiences

by Mary Conrad

Patricia McArdle retired from the U.S. Department of State in 2006 after serving as a public affairs officer in the diplomatic corps for nearly three decades. Her last overseas assignment was as the senior representative at a British Army-run Provincial Reconstruction Team in Northern Afghanistan. Previously, she had served in the Peace Corps as a volunteer health educator in Paraguay and in the U.S. Navy for three years at a remote communications base in Morocco.

Patricia won the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for her novel, Farishta, published by Riverhead/Penguin. This is an extraordinary novel that takes place in contemporary Afghanistan, inspired by Patricia's time spent there in the Foreign Service.

Patricia says Tony Hillerman first interested her in writing fiction while she was at UNM. Farishta’s main character, Angela Lopez Morgan, is a New Mexican woman and a diplomat. There are several scenes that take place in New Mexico Angela comes home for rest and relaxation from Afghanistan.

Patricia serves on the board of Solar Cookers International. While in Afghanistan Patricia was struck by the potential of solar cooking for improving women’s lives. Solar cooking is featured as a subplot of the novel.

FarishtaRead reviews and interviews about
Patricia and her work at:


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