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Author Series

Kathy Eliscu  Tuesday September 12    7:00 pm

 

Kathy writes on her blog, “the biggest thing my lame fingers have done recently, while repeatedly making the same mistakes at the keyboard, is Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess, a humor novel for women, published by Maine Authors Publishing. And I don’t care what state you’re in or from. You’ll laugh. Especially at me.

Thanks for playing along…”

She is currently, published in My Generation magazine (Current Publishing.)  Previous work has appeared in: Maine Women,  Raising Maine, the Maine Sunday Telegram’s Boomers and other supplements, Employment Times, and Advance for Nurses, a trade magazine for nurses.



Linda Becker   Wednesday   September 27   6:30 pm  

 

“Cobwebs and Glitter” is a random collection of story poems based on the experiences of a young country girl who recalls them with all the details stored up and happily brought back to life when she returned to her childhood village of South Berwick, Maine. These are yesteryear tales experienced in their simplest, most modest form…some heart-warming, a few embarrassing, others humorous. All are illuminated (and some                                                                                                        even illustrated) with fondness.

The author lived in South Berwick as a child, and still has many clear memories of those 10 formative years of her life. She returned 20 years later in 1980 as an adut, with her husband Rick and three young daughters, and the family made a historical building on Main St. into their beloved homestead. As she approached her 70th birthday, she realized she wanted to document some of those past experiences and honor them with a publication. Now that milestone has passed, and her goal has been accomplished! An added coincidental bonus for her has been the opportunity to work toward a new goal: dedicating all of the proceeds from her memoir to support the Bridge Brigade, an exciting community effort to build a covered bridge to replace the Vine Street bridge which has been closed for several years. She is hopeful that other South Berwick citizens, and all readers both young and old who open the pages of “Cobwebs & Glitter”, will recognize and share in the celebration of life’s small, everyday stories. They are the shining threads which weave the fabric of our lives.

 


Pat Wall  Tuesday October 3   7:00 pm

Based on careful research conducted over many years by Patricia Q. Wall, “Lives of Consequence: Blacks in Early Kittery & Berwick in the Massachusetts Province of Maine” presents the first detailed look at the lives of more than four hundred Black individuals who lived in Kittery and Berwick, Maine, from the seventeenth century until about 1820.

Pat has patiently combed the available public and private documents to find whatever scraps of information had been recorded about these African-Americans. Because most lived their lives in the shadows of the historical record, much has been lost. As Pat reveals, however, in addition to the personal trajectories of their own lives, they also played important roles in the life of their towns. Thanks to her research, we have a much better understanding of the importance of the Black, Native American, and mixed-race populations in southern Maine, both in qualitative and quantitative terms.  As a pioneering modern social historian, she has shed light on an important but largely ignored subject.

Patricia Q. Wall has collected what she says are “scattered bits” of information about slavery in the earliest European settlements in Maine. But this is much more than a dry catalog of names and statistics, remarkable as that alone would be. This is her passionately narrated account of the challenges encountered when attempting to research a community of Africans and their American descendants, a community of people who were ignored and then forgotten when their bodies were no longer useful to others for building personal wealth.

Lives of Consequence introduces a social scene that seems all wrong in this now quietly picturesque vacation land. Nothing today suggests that African children and adult ‘servants’ had been here as an involuntary workforce, held captive to provide cheap labor in the English colony. History is silent about the half-black Yankees who lived here, their status having been pre-determined at birth according to the mother’s condition as free or a bond servant and, either way, the child would be valued by the dominant society according to prevailing market prices. Any surviving evidence of Black people inhabiting the coast of Maine is difficult to find, sometimes appearing, the author says, only as a “shadowy mark” on a page that testifies to a reality that was northern complicity in the antebellum trans-Atlantic economic system.

For the past forty-eight years, Patricia Quigley Wall has been involved with New England’s colonial history through professional museum work, research, teaching, and writing. More recently, after meeting Valerie Cunningham and learning of her ground-breaking research on Black history in early Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mrs. Wall wrote an historical novel, Child Out of Place (Fall Rose Books, 2004, for ages 10 and up), based on a fictional, early nineteenth-century Black family in that locale. Six years later, its sequel, Beyond Freedom (Fall Rose Books, 2010), followed that family into Boston’s 1812 Black community on Beacon Hill. Both books were based on meticulous research.

Born in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, Mrs. Wall grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Germantown and is a graduate of Temple University (BA ’53) and Pennsylvania State University (MS ’64). For sixteen years, Mrs. Wall, widow of the late Robert A. Wall, was associated with the Darien Historical Society, Darien, Connecticut, as a board member and then as executive director. After moving to Kittery Point, Maine, in 1986, she worked at Strawbery Banke Museum for several years before retiring to become a volunteer docent and board member of the Warner House Museum. For five years she also served as events coordinator for the Portsmouth Historic Sites Association, a small group of house museums and historical sites in Portsmouth. Mrs. Wall now lives in Exeter, New Hampshire.

 


Karen McNeill    Wednesday   October 18    7:00 pm

Karen MacNeill will present a personal account of raising her son Chandler, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Her book on her experience is “Pieces that Fit: a mother’s journey through her son’s puzzling diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome.”

Goodall Library said, “We host many programs here but this one was special… the audience was completely engaged.  It was one of those programs that you felt made a real difference in people’s lives.”

Pieces That Fit is a powerful story based on one woman’s struggle to raise an autistic child. Karen’s raw, emotional candor will move you throughout your reading experience. Karen began this journey during Autism Awareness month in April 2014, when she wrote a post a day for thirty days. She received so much love, support, and encouragement from those posts that she is now sharing her journey, hoping to reach a bigger audience so that others may have a better understanding of their own journey and struggles. She hopes this book will be a message of hope to others who have struggled or are struggling with this puzzling diagnosis. The book begins with Karen meeting her husband, Jim, in 1990 and moves on to the birth of their son, Chandler, who is afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome. Karen describes in detail her frustrations, anger, and bitterness through the ordeal of having Chandler diagnosed. She takes her readers through difficult situations, tantrums, and tears in a uniquely honest and moving way. From frustrating meetings with teachers to even worse day-care experiences, you will find yourself rooting for this boy and his family to succeed. In between, Karen and Jim have another child, Braeden, who couldn’t be more different from his big brother, and new challenges begin to emerge. With a new brother, however, successes begin to mount for Chandler. Finally, Karen brings us a message of hope as Chandler grows up and learns to live with the autistic traits that are uniquely his. As Chandler finally begins to succeed in school and in life, you will be cheering and fist-pumping in support of him.

 


Mary Lawrence Tuesday October 24   7:00 pm

 

Mary Lawrence has always loved a well-told story and has an interest in Tudor England. About twenty years ago she stumbled upon a book about alchemy and came up with the idea for a daughter of an alchemist who lived during the reign of Henry VIII. The original tale was a coming of age story. An agent signed her on, but the manuscript never sold, no matter how many times she rewrote it.

She worked in labs and supplemented her income writing indexes for small presses. In her free time, she wrote other manuscripts, improving her skills slowly over the years. In 2010, Lawrence was a RWA  Golden Heart finalist and finaled in a national YA writing contest. After another couple of near misses selling a manuscript, she rethought her story about alchemy and decided to try to write a mystery. She had never written a mystery before, but took it on as a personal challenge.  “The  Alchemist’s Daughter” is the result.

Mary Lawrence grew up in Southern Indiana and attended Butler University.  Lawrence finished at Indiana University, graduating with a specialty degree in Cytotechnology then moved to Maine shortly thereafter.  Except for a brief stint in Grad school in Western Massachusetts,  she has made her home in Maine.

 

 


Kathy Gunst Wednesday November 8th  6:00-8:00 pm

Come to a Soup Swap with Kathy Gunst, Resident Chef for NPR’s Here and Now and James Beard Award winning food journalist and South Berwick resident.

What’s a soup swap? How does it work? We have a party and taste many different soups and salads and then at the end of the night everyone fills up mason jars or take out containers or old yogurt containers and goes home with all the leftovers.

You’ll have soup for the whole week (for lunch or dinner or to fill up your freezer for later, quick, easy meals). You cook once but come home with a week’s worth of soup. Win-win!

Gunst will talk about her new book, Soup Swap and sign copies of the book.

Here what you’ll need:

  • Bring a large pot of your favorite soup. It should be large enough so that everyone can have a sample but there will be enough for everyone to bring home a small sampling of leftovers.
  • Bring the soup in a crock pot or bring a portable heater to heat the soup up. The library does not have a kitchen stove so we will need to get creative when it comes to heating up the soups.
  • Bring a ladle. Tie a ribbon or something around it so you know which one is yours. All ladles seem to look the same.
  • If you don’t have time to make soup bring a salad, bread or dessert to share.
  • Bring mason jars and take out containers for the leftovers.
  • Invite friends and family. Come to a party, go home with leftovers and check out Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst (Chronicle Books).

 


Melanie Brooks Tuesday  January 9   7:00 pm

Melanie Brooks will read an excerpt from her newest book about memoir writing, speak about her experience writing a memoir, and conduct a writing exercise for everyone.

In her attempt to write a memoir about her father’s death from a secret AIDS infection in 1985, Melanie Brooks was left with some painful questions: What does it take to write an honest memoir? And what happens to us when we embark on that journey? Would she manage it? Brooks sought guidance from the memoirists who most moved her to answer these questions and write her book.

Writing Hard Stories: celebrated memoirists who shaped art from trauma” encourages all writers as they work through their challenging stories. It features some of the country’s most admired writers discussing their treks through dark memories and breakthrough moments, and it demonstrates the healing power of putting words to experience. A unique compilation of authentic stories about the death of a partner, parent, or child; about violence and shunning; and about the process of writing, the book will serve as a tool for teachers of writing and give readers an intimate look into the lives of the authors they love.

 

Melanie Brooks is a writer, teacher, and mother living in Nashua, New Hampshire with her husband, two children, and yellow Lab. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Master’s in Fine Arts program. She teaches college writing at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and Merrimack College in Andover, Massachusetts. She also teaches creative writing at Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Creative Nonfiction, Hippocampus, The Huffington Post, The Manifest-Station, Modern Loss, Solstice Literary Magazine, The Recollectors, Stonecoast Review, Washington Post, and Word Riot. Her almost-completed memoir explores the devastating impact of living with the ten-year secret of her father’s HIV disease before his death in 1995.  Brooks’s writing is the vehicle through which she’s starting to understand that impact.

 


Susan Poulin     Tuesday January 23  7:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

(snow date Tuesday Jan 30)

 

 

 

 

 


 

David Witherall

Tuesday February 6  7:00 pm

David Witherill has been around the salt water all of his life, starting at two weeks of age when his father took him for his first sail. After graduating from Maine Maritime Academy he spent a career at sea as a deck officer, including eighteen years as master and five as a mooring master. He and his wife Gail reside in Cumberland, Maine, and have two grown children.

A retired ship captain looks for a new adventure after years in the stormy North Pacific. He finds it with his spouse, “The Admiral,” aboard their 34-foot sailboat. The journey takes the reader down the East Coast’s Intracoastal Waterway and on to the Bahamas, with numerous ports of call and sea  stories along the way. “From Sea of Life to Sea of Dreams” is his latest book.

 

 

 


 

Christopher Morin Tuesday March 20  7:00 pm

 

Three Labs a Lifetime”  is the story of three black Labrador retrievers who helped shape and define Morin’s family’s very identity over the course of three decades. Included are stories and anecdotes—some amusing, others sad—chronicling the lives of these three exceptional dogs as recalled from  memory and past personal experiences.

Morin was born, raised, and currently resides in Portland, Maine. He received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Maine at Orono. He is a history enthusiast and has enjoyed creative writing since penning his first short story back in second grade.