Virtual artist’s afternoon
SOUTHWEST HARBOR—Master Carver Steve Valleau will be the featured artist for the Shelburne Museum’s first Artist’s Afternoon online event of 2021. Attend the event free via the Wendell Gilley Facebook page on Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. for a virtual seminar about the works of master carvers Elmer Crowell and Wendell Gilley, a discussion of Valleau’s own carving, as well as a Q&A. Artist-in-residence at the Wendell Gilley Museum and carver for over 45 years, Valleau will speak about his carving practices and current projects.
Southwest Harbor writer to speak as part of author series
ELLSWORTH — Critically acclaimed authors Meredith Hall, Kerri Arsenault and Christina Baker Kline will speak about their latest books, their writing process and answer questions online as part of the Ellsworth Public Library’s “Maine Authors Series” kicking off at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14. The free presentations will made available via Zoom.
Meredith Hall, who lives in Cape Elizabeth and teaches writing at the University of New Hampshire, is the first author in the lineup on Jan. 14. At age 44, Hall graduated from Bowdoin College. She wrote her first essay, “Killing Chickens,” in 2002. Two years later, she won the $50,000 Gift of Freedom Award from A Room of Her Own Foundation, which gave her the financial freedom to devote time to “Without a Map.” That first book was named Best Book of the Year by Kirkus and was Elle’s “Readers’ Pick of the Year.” “Beneficience” is her latest book.
“Without a Map” is a memoir tracing Hall’s experience and life’s journey after getting pregnant at age 16 in a remote corner of New Hampshire. She was kicked out of school and sent to live with her father and stepmother. Her son was given up for adoption. Eventually estranged from her father, Hall drifted and did odds jobs before setting her sights on going to college. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, The Southern Review, Five Points, Prairie Schooner and several anthologies. She teaches writing at the University of New Hampshire and lives in Maine. Visit her website at meredithhall.org.
Connecticut author Kerri Arsenault, who grew up in the rural, working-class town of Mexico, wrote “Mill Town: A Reckoning with What Remains.” The investigative memoir was sparked by Arsenault’s interest in her own family history and “led her to explore the possible link between pollutants produced in papermaking and incidents of cancer and cancer-related deaths among residents, including her father and grandfather,” writes the Portland Press Herald’s Ray Routhier in an Aug. 16, 2020, story about the author.
“I think, growing up, I was just too close to it to really take an interest,” Arsenault, 53, told Routhier. “In writing the book, I probably ended up with more questions than answers.”
Arsenault is a book critic, book editor at Orion magazine and a contributing editor at The Literary Hub. She is also a mentor for PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program. Her work has appeared in Freeman’s, The Boston Globe, Down East, the Paris Review Daily, the New York Review of Books and Air Mail. “Mill Town” is her first book.
Christina Baker Kline, who lives in New York City and Southwest Harbor, is the final author slated to speak on Thursday, Jan. 21. “The Exiles” is her latest novel that captures hardship, oppression, opportunity and hope of four women’s lives — three English convicts and an orphaned Aboriginal girl — in 19th-century Australia.
Baker Kline is a New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including “The Exiles,” “Orphan Train” and “A Piece of the World.” Her novels have received the New England Prize for Fiction, the Maine Literary Award, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Award, among other prizes, and have been chosen by hundreds of communities, universities and schools as “One Book, One Read” selections. Her essays, articles and reviews have appeared in publications such as the New York Times and the NYT Book Review, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, LitHub, Psychology Today and Slate.
In the library’s series, each author will share about her process and most recent book and there will be a Q&A at the end of each session. All programs will take place at 7 p.m. on Zoom. While attendance is free, registration is required. To sign up, visit ellsworthlibrary.net/calendar or call 667- 6363.