Portland Public Library Brown Bag Lecture Series

Reza Jalali

Podcast | Reza Jalali | Muslim in America

MHC Board Member Reza Jalali discusses the lives of Muslims in the U.S. and gives an overview of Islam, a faith practiced by many of our neighbors. This talk was recorded on December 16, 2015 at Portland Public Library. A Muslim scholar, educator, and writer, he is the coordinator of multicultural student affairs at the University… Read more

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Lily King

Podcast | Lily King | Euphoria

This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s Humanities on Demand podcasts is a recording of a talk held on May 13th, 2015 at the Portland Public Library as part of their Brown Bag Lecture Series. We join Maine author Lily King as she discusses her book, “Euphoria.” She is introduced by Josh Bodwell of the… Read more

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Podcast | Gary Rainford | Swan’s Island Poetry

Welcome to the Maine Humanities Council’s ‘Humanities on Demand’ podcast series. This episode is a recording of a poetry talk by Gary Rainford, part of the Portland Public Library’s Friday Local Authors Series. This talk was held on April 17th, 2015. Gary Rainford lives on Swan’s Island in Maine year-round with his wife and daughter…. Read more

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Podcast Brock Clarke

Brock Clarke: “The Happiest People in the World”

This episode is a recording of a talk held on January 14, 2015, at the Portland Public Library as part of its Brown Bag Lecture Series. We join Maine author Brock Clarke as he discusses his newest book, The Happiest People in the World. As Bob Keyes of the Portland Press Herald stated in his introduction to the talk, “Last week’s terrorist attacks… Read more

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Debby Irving

Debby Irving: Waking Up White

This episode is a recording of a talk held on September 10th, 2014 at the Portland Public Library as part of their Brown Bag Lecture Series. We join Debbie Irving as she discusses her book, Waking Up White. Debby Irving, Racial Justice Educator and Writer, and Shay Stewart-Bouley, Executive Director of Community Change, Inc., author… Read more

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Paul Doiron

Paul Doiron: The Bone Orchard

This episode is a recording of a talk held on August 27th, 2014 at the Portland Public Library as part of their Brown Bag Lecture Series. We join Paul Doiron as he discusses his newest book, “The Bone Orchard.” Bestselling author Paul Doiron is the Editor Emeritus of Down East Magazine. He is a native… Read more

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Podcast Richard Russo

That Old Cape Magic, Richard Russo

For the kick-off of the new season of the Portland Public Library’s brown-bag lunch series, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Richard Russo, came back to Portland to read from his new novel That Old Cape Magic. Despite being a Yankees fan, Russo lives in Coastal Maine. Here, Russo reads a colorful chapter of his newly released… Read more

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Podcast Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian: Skeletons at the Feast

Chris Bohjalian is the author of eleven novels, including the New York Times bestsellers The Double Bind, Before You Know Kindness, The Law of Similars, and Midwives. Bohjalian won the New England Book Award in 2002. His work has been translated into 25 languages and has sold over three and a half million copies. He… Read more

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Podcast Eve LaPlante

Eve LaPlante: Salem Witch Judge

Samuel Sewall, the only judge to publicly repent his decision to condemn twenty people to death as witches in 1692, is the subject of Eve LaPlante’s new biography, Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall (HarperOne, 2007). LaPlante counts Sewall as her sixth great-grandfather, a family connection that gave her access to… Read more

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Podcast Linda Greenlaw

Linda Greenlaw: All Fishermen Are Liars

Linda Greenlaw’s three books about life as a commercial fisherman—The Hungry Ocean (1999), The Lobster Chronicles (2002), and All Fishermen Are Liars (2004)—have climbed as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. Her first novel, Slipknot, began a mystery series whose second installment is Fisherman’s Bend (2008). Before becoming a writer, Greenlaw… Read more

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Podcast Miriam Colwell

Miriam Colwell

Miriam Colwell was born in Prospect Harbor in 1917 and still lives in the house built by her great-great-grandfather in 1817. She is the author of Wind Off the Water (1945), Day of the Trumpet (1947), and Young (1955). As a small town resident and long-time postmistress, she has watched change upon change wash over… Read more

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Podcast Neil Rolde

Neil Rolde

Neil Rolde’s 2006 book, Continental Liar from the State of Maine, is a biography of James G. Blaine, the Maine politician who dominated the American political stage from just before the Civil War and almost until the twentieth century. A former Maine politician himself, Rolde is a prize-winning historian and author of Unsettled Past, Unsettled… Read more

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Podcast Jeff Shaara

Jeff Shaara

The Steel Wave is the second novel in what will be a trilogy of World War II stories by Jeff Shaara, who has also written about the Civil War, the American Revolution, the Mexican War, and the first World War. Shaara is the son of the late Michael Shaara, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Killer… Read more

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Podcast John Ford in Focus,

Ford In Focus

Michael C. Connolly and Kevin Stoehr are the editors of John Ford in Focus, a collection of essays that offers a comprehensive examination of Ford’s life and career, revealing the frequent intersections between Ford’s personal life and artistic vision, including his roots in Portland. Stoehr is associate professor of humanities at Boston University and lives… Read more

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Podcast Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas was nineteen when her father took his family to live among the Bushmen of the Kalahari. Fifty years later, after a life of writing and study, Thomas returns to her experiences in The Old Way: A Story of the First People. She recalls life with the Bushmen, one of the last hunter-gatherer… Read more

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Podcast Martha Tod Dudman

Martha Tod Dudman

Martha Tod Dudman’s first novel, Black Olives, turns her unflinching candor and sharp wit on reconstructing the end of a love affair. Dudman is the author of the powerful memoirs Augusta, Gone (which was adapted into an award-winning Lifetime Television movie) and Expecting to Fly. A professional fundraiser, Dudman lives in Northeast Harbor with her… Read more

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Author Maria Testa

A Tale of Three Cities

Author Maria Testa combines readings from her book for young adults, Something About America, with discussion of events in Lewiston and Kosovo that inspired the story. This presentation took place at the Portland Public Library. We welcome your feedback on this Maria Testa reading. Read more

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Podcast Sue Miller

Sue Miller

Sue Miller is the best-selling author of nine works of fiction, including The Good Mother and While I Was Gone, and the nonfiction book The Story of My Father. Her new book, The Senator’s Wife, revolves around the marriages of two women—a young mother and the wife of a promiscuous politician—who live side by side… Read more

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Podcast Jaed Coffin

Jaed Coffin

Six years ago, at the age of twenty-one, Jaed Muncharoen Coffin left New England’s privileged Middlebury College to be ordained as a Buddhist monk in his mother’s native village of Panomsarakram—thus fulfilling a familial obligation. Part armchair travel, part coming-of-age story, his debut book A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants (Da Capo Press, 2009) chronicles… Read more

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Podcast Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline is a novelist, nonfiction writer, and editor. Her novels include Sweet Water and Desire Lines. Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Yale Review, Southern Living, Ms., Parents, and Family Life. Currently writer-in-residence at Fordham University, Kline lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her… Read more

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Podcast Jennifer Gilmore

Jennifer Gilmore

Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Jennifer Gilmore’s Golden Country tells the intertwining stories of three immigrants seeking their fortunes. Gilmore’s reinvention of the Jewish American novel, captures the exuberance of the American dream while exposing its underbelly—disillusionment, greed, and the disaffection bred by success. It received a starred review from Publishers Weekly…. Read more

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Podcast Masha Hamilton

Masha Hamilton

The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton is a tale about an American librarian, Fiona Sweeney, who leaves Brooklyn to work for a relief organization in Africa that sends books on the backs of camels to forgotten villages. Fiona’s intentions are entirely pure but, when the bookmobile causes a feud among the nomadic tribe it aims… Read more

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Podcast Meredith Hall

Meredith Hall

Meredith Hall graduated from Bowdoin College at age forty-four and wrote her first piece, “Killing Chickens,” in 2002. Two years later, she won the $50,000 Gift of Freedom Award from A Room of Her Own Foundation. Her other honors include a Pushcart Prize and “notable essay” recognition in Best American Essays; she was also a… Read more

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Podcast Eric B. Martin

Eric B. Martin

Eric B. Martin wrote The Virgin’s Guide to Mexico from 2001-2006 in Mexico City and California. Raised in Maine, he was educated in Austin, Durham, and Quito, Ecuador. He has worked on vineyards, beer trucks, tobacco fields, and in homeless shelters. The recent recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, he is the author of the novels… Read more

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Podcast Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards is originally from Pittsburgh and now lives in Kittery, Maine. She earned an M.A. in writing from the University of New Hampshire and has published poems in many journals including The Southern Review, Witness, The Antioch Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Cream City Review, Sycamore Review, and The Florida Review. She was the… Read more

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