Maine Literary Festival: The Write Stuff

Maine is known for many things — lobsters, moose, summer vacations — but diversity isn't one of them.

Still, the voices emerging from Maine's literary scene come from a range of ethnic backgrounds and traditions, which enriches our dialogue and our experience as readers. With that in mind, the focus of this year's Maine Literary Festival Presents discussion is "Cross-Cultural Experiences, Literature of New Voices in America."

The event, an evening of readings, discussion and performances, begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Camden Opera House. Panelists John Muthyala, Judy Hakola and Reza Jalali will present an overview of ethnic literature, while Carol Bachofner and Allen Sockabasin will perform songs and poetry readings reflecting their Native American heritage. Puppeteer Ashley Bryan will discuss his experience as an African-American writer living in Maine. And Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest, Pat Nyhan and Reza Jilai will discuss their book "New Mainers: Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors."

These Maine writers will be joined by writers from across the country, including poets Eugene Gloria and Francisco Aragon and authors Shilpa Argarwal, Jaed Coffin and Rishi Reddi.

This event kicks off a yearlong celebration of diverse voices, which will continue through the 2010 Maine Literary Festival. For the writers in the crowd, publishing workshops are also on tap. Tickets cost $50, $30 for students with ID, and the proceeds benefit a scholarship project of the Midcoast Branch of American Association of University Women. The scholarship helps young women and girls who may not be able to afford college.

For more information, visit or call 207.837.2827.


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