BAR HARBOR — Bestselling author Monica Wood will join College of the Atlantic Dean of Institutional Advancement Lynn Boulger for a discussion about writing and her latest book, “The One-in-a-Million Boy,” at COA’s Coffee and Conversation event in the Thomas S. Gates Jr. Community Center on Tuesday, July 18, at 9 a.m. The talk is free and open to the public.
“I have been reading Monica Wood for years, and with every new book, I press my copy on friends, then buy another to read again,” Boulger said. “I am so excited to introduce her to anyone who doesn’t know her or her work here in the Mount Desert Island community.”
“The One-in-a-Million Boy” revolves around a friendship between a 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant woman and an 11-year-old Boy Scout obsessed with Guinness world records. For seven Saturdays, the boy has arrived promptly to do Ona Vitkus’s yard chores, record her life story for a fifth-grade school project and talk her into gunning for the record of oldest licensed driver.
On page two, the reader discovers that the boy has recently died. In his place, on the 10th Saturday, the boy’s father reluctantly shows up to complete his son’s good deed. A professional guitar player, Quinn was an absent father who was a little afraid of his sweet, strange son. Through Quinn’s own friendship with Ona, the boy returns to life in ways that offer unexpected detours to people who believed they were through with second chances.
“Wood’s exquisitely crafted prose radiates warmth, perception and insight, and her quartet of primary characters are simultaneously sympathetic and flawed,” said The Guardian. “And yet it is testament to Wood’s empathetic storytelling that a novel replete with grief is nonetheless so heartwarming, funny and uplifting.”
Wood is a novelist, memoirist and playwright. The One-in-a-Million Boy” has been published in 20 foreign editions and won a 2017 Nautilus Gold Award and the New England Society in the City of New York Book Award. She also is the author of “When We Were the Kennedys,” a New England bestseller, “Oprah” magazine summer-reading pick and winner of the May Sarton Memoir Award and the 2016 Maine Literary Award. Her novel “Any Bitter Thing” was an ABA bestseller and Book Sense Top Ten pick. Her other fiction includes “Ernie’s Ark,” which has been excerpted on NPR’s “Selected Shorts” and selected by several towns and cities as their One Book, One Community read; “My Only Story,” a finalist for the Kate Chopin Award; and “Secret Language,” her first novel. Her widely anthologized short stories have won a Pushcart Prize and been featured on public radio. She also writes books for writers and teachers. Her nonfiction has appeared in “Oprah,” The New York Times, “Martha Stewart Living,” Parade and many other publications. Her recent play, “Papermaker,” enjoyed an extended debut run at Portland Stage in Portland, its bestselling play ever.
College of the Atlantic’s annual summer event series, including Coffee and Conversation events, evening lectures and the inaugural Champlain Institute, focuses on the importance of the humanities this year with a program of free presentations, conversations and art from July through August. The summer series is underwritten by the College of the Atlantic Champlain Society. Visit coa.edu/calendar.