Lifewriting author discusses myth vs. memoir at library

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LEWISTON – Local author and writing coach Denis Ledoux will speak on “Gilead: Crossing Boundaries between Truth and Fiction” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library.

“Gilead” is the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Marilynne Robinson, which was selected as the 2006 book-of-choice for the annual community-wide reading program, “L-A Reads.”

Told through the eyes of a Midwestern minister nearing the end of his life, “Gilead” unfolds in the form of a letter. As the reverend writes to his young son, the reader learns of a family’s history and comes to understand the connections that have been important in his life.

These connections include family, his vocation, his lifetime friend, the splendors of the physical world and the young wife and child with whom he has been blessed in his later years.

In his one-hour presentation, Ledoux will use the book as a lens through which to examine the differences between memoir and myth. In addition, he will discuss the basic skills required to start and sustain the work of preserving one’s own stories.

“Anyone who wants to begin lifestory writing, or to continue a current project with more skill and enthusiasm, is encouraged to attend,” said Ledoux.

Director of the Soleil Lifestory Network of Lisbon Falls, Ledoux has been helping people write memoirs since 1988 when he founded his Turning Memories Into Memoirs workshop series with grant assistance from the Maine Humanities Council.

In addition to teaching the workshops for local and national audiences, Ledoux and his staff edit, design and publish memoirs for Mainers and for other family historians around the country. Through his Soleil Lifestory Network, Ledoux also coaches writers and co-authors manuscripts.

The 2006 “L-A Reads” program will conclude with a small-group discussion of the book “Gilead” at noon Thursday, April 6, in the first floor conference room at the Lewiston Public Library. “Gilead” is available for loan at both local libraries and may be purchased at a special 20 percent discount from Mr. Paperback and The Page Turner in Lewiston and WaldenBooks in Auburn.

The “L-A Reads” program is co-sponsored by the Lewiston and Auburn public libraries with participation and support from Lewiston Adult Education, Auburn Adult Education, L-A College, Literacy Volunteers Androscoggin, and the Sun Journal. More information is available by calling the Auburn Public Library at 782-3191 or the Lewiston Public Library at 784-0135.

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