Maine Festival of the Book Comes of Age
2012 Book Festival in Portland Maine
Today I received an e-mail from the national magazine, Poets and Writers, concerning a book festival in Portland, Maine that begins today and carries on through the weekend. For those interesting in attending, Saturday is the big day, but Friday does have an interesting opening night, including an illustrated talk by Tony Horwitz. Except for opening night attendance to the festival is free with most events being held at Abromson Center on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine.
Portland, Maine’s Contributions To the Literary Arts
Several important American men of letters have been associated with Portland. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Stephen King were both born in the city. Longfellow was a nineteenth century poet and writer, who eventually moved to Cambridge, Mass., where he obtained international claim for such works as ‘The Song of Hiawatha’ and ‘Evangeline’. On the other hand, Stephen King is alive and well and now lives and works in Bangor, Maine. Another noted 19th century writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne, spent some time in the city after his family moved from Salem, Mass. to the shores of Lake Sebago, located just ten miles west of the city in the early 1800’s. In fact, Hawthorne was a contemporary of Longfellow’s, as they both attended nearby Bowdoin College, located in Bowdoinham.
History of the Maine Festival of the Book
Having just moved away from this major, Maine urban center, I was surprised and pleased to see that some staff from Poets & Writers had taken the time to spend the weekend at the Maine Festival of the Arts. This literary event started up several years ago, when the Portland Public Library hosted the event. The initial festival presented numerous panel discussion and author’s readings, making for a lively debut. Subsequent years saw the book festival move to the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland, as the public library underwent an extensive renovation. After the move, the festival went through a significant downsizing, but this year’s lineup seems to indicate a return to the first year, when many different book and author forums were offered. Hopefully future years will see the festival continue in its present form.