Fisherman focus of Lawrence sequel

MOUNT DESERT — Barbara Kent Lawrence will visit the Northeast Harbor Library for an author talk and book signing on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 5:30-7 p.m. Lawrence is the author of “Islands of Time,” published in 2013, and the newly released sequel, “The Other Island: Ben’s Story.”

Set on Mount Desert and Little Cranberry islands, “Islands of Time” is the story of forbidden love in 1958 between a summer girl, Becky, who tells the story, and Ben, a local boy and son of a Down East fisherman.

After a long cab ride in 2013 with a former groundfisherman who had recently lost his boat, his home and his livelihood, Lawrence began thinking about what changes in the fisheries might have meant to Ben and his family.

She contemplated writing Ben’s side of the same story, and through him, learning as much as she could about the fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. “It soon became apparent to me that Ben was the perfect person to tell this story,” said Lawrence.

“‘Ben’s Story’ is a moving and beautifully written novel of Maine coastal fishing communities: a document of life as it disappears beyond a far, watery horizon,” said Maine author Paul Doiron.

William Carpenter, a literature and writing professor at College of the Atlantic, wrote, “It’s a complete re-envisioning of Barbara Kent Lawrence’s engaging and moving narrative. In a time of increased class consciousness in America, it’s an insightful study of lovers reaching across class boundaries in a gesture that takes them their whole lives.”

Lawrence earned a bachelor’s in anthropology from Bennington College, a master’s in sociology from New York University and a doctorate in education from Boston University. She taught anthropology and history in a high school and then co-founded and ran a real estate and construction firm in Northeast Harbor.

After receiving her doctorate, she served as a policy analyst for the Rural School and Community Trust and later at KnowledgeWorks Foundation, while teaching writing and education courses at Northeastern and Lesley universities in Boston.

Her dissertation, “Working Memory: The Influence of Culture on Aspirations,” a case study of schools on Mount Desert Island, won the National Rural Education Association award for the dissertation of the year in 1998 and later became the foundation for her novels.

Copies of “Islands of Time” and “The Other Island: Ben’s Story” will be available for signing and purchase.


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