The Maine Festival of the Book relocates to USM

Celebrating print
By ALEX IRVINE  |  April 1, 2009

090403_Book_m

Now in its third year, the Maine Festival of the Book is settling into a new home on the USM campus due to the renovation of the Portland Public Library, which hosted the festival's first two years. Presented by Maine Reads, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to literacy and the encouragement of reading, the festival will kick off April 2 with a 4 pm multimedia presentation on the history of the book at USM's Glickman Library, and close April 5 with a 7 pm Portland Stage Company dramatic reading of Lewis Robinson's novel Water Dogs (see "Gone to the Dogs," by Alex Irvine, January 30).

This is going to be a slimmed-down version of the festival compared to the first two years, with children's programming a notable casualty. "Due to poor attendance in 2007 and 2008 for children's programs," says Maine Reads coordinator Sarah Cecil, "we decided to eliminate the children's programming with the exception of the very-targeted outreach programs," like an event hosted for local eighth-graders by local comics artist Jay Piscopo.

The bulk of festival events are scheduled for Saturday, April 4, when 16 writers (including your correspondent) will offer readings from their latest work and lead discussions on everything from immigration to the grief process to nature and the Maine landscape. This, too, is a departure from previous years, when the festival ran multiple simultaneous tracks and events. One thing that will also be missing is the Monument Square signing tent. Although it let the festival bring in authors just for signings, "it also created a lot of logistical work, not to mention expenses," Cecil says.

This year, each reading will include time for discussion and signing. Cecil hopes that the improved focus will result in better attendance for each event. It will also allow the dedicated attendee to catch more than half of the festival's programming; at no time does the schedule present more than two events, and Cecil has tried to make sure that simultaneous events are directed at different audiences.

David Sedaris is also in town this weekend, performing Friday night, and one of the perks of reading at the festival is a ticket to the show. Asked if Sedaris might be hanging around town after the show is over, Cecil said, "Maybe at Joe's Smoke Shop."

Look for him there once programming ends on Saturday. And see the listings for all the details on the events.

Related: Add it to the reading list, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc plays the Ventriloquist, An object lesson in research as storytelling, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Culture and Lifestyle, David Sedaris, David Sedaris,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY ALEX IRVINE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TWO JEWS, THREE OPINIONS  |  March 14, 2012
    The opening segment of Between Two Worlds deals with the bitter disagreement over the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival's 2009 decision to screen the controversial documentary Rachel , about an American activist crushed by an Israeli Defense Forces bulldozer near the Egyptian border in 2003.
  •   BRINGING THE BIG COMIC-BOOK GUNS TO TOWN  |  May 20, 2009
    In its short history, the brand-new Ocean Gateway terminal hasn't seen anything like the hundreds of comic-book creators, collectors, and fans (900 strong, nearly half of them age 12 or under) who attended the inaugural Maine Comics Arts Festival on Sunday.
  •   THE MAINE FESTIVAL OF THE BOOK RELOCATES TO USM  |  April 01, 2009
    Now in its third year, the Maine Festival of the Book is settling into a new home on the USM campus
  •   CENSORSHIP FOR ME, PENELOPE  |  March 04, 2009
    Lisa Jahn-Clough's young-adult novel Me, Penelope is the subject of a recent dispute at Tavares Middle School in Orlando, Florida.
  •   MAINE CREATORS AT THE NEW YORK COMIC-CON  |  February 11, 2009
    If you've never attended a large comics convention, it's difficult to get a sense of the enormity and nonstop sensory onslaught.

 See all articles by: ALEX IRVINE