Margaret Larkin was born in New Mexico and studied at the University of Kansas. She married Liston Oak and became a trade union activist. In 1926, she wrote the titles of the silent film The Passaic Textile Strike. During the 1930s, she was a singer/songwriter and composer of folk songs. After divorcing her first husband, she married Albert Maltz, a writer nine years her junior. He was blacklisted as one of the Hollywood Ten by the House Un-American Activities Committee. In 1951, the couple and their two children moved to Mexico; they later divorced. Margaret Larkin served as an editorial assistant to noted anthropologist Oscar Lewis during the research and writing of his book La Vida: A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture of Poverty (1966). She was the author of several books of her own, including The Hand of Mordechai, also known as The Six Days of Yad Mordechai, published in Hebrew (1966), Yiddish (1967), and English (1968). She died at age 67 in Mexico City.