PORTLAND – Author Monica Wood will read from her novel in progress and speak about the creative process Thursday, April 3, as part of the University of New England’s Maine Women Writers Collection spring lecture series.

The event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Sarton Room in the Abplanalp Library on the college campus at 716 Stevens Ave. It is free and open to the public.

Wood’s ability to tell a compelling story comes to her naturally and springs from her family background of storytellers. She also credits the traditions her grandparents brought with them from Prince Edward Island in Canada when they immigrated to Mexico, Maine.

“My fiction is not autobiographical, except that the theme of family infuses my work, as it does my life. I strive to create characters who seem real, no matter how unusual their circumstances, and to make my readers care what happens to these characters as if they were looking after their own brothers and sisters,” said Wood.

Her fascination is with the notion of the power of our “first” family, the family into which we were born – that collection of people who accompanied us, for better or worse, through the process of learning how to find our way into the world.

“Our first family remains with us, in ways both damaging and redeeming, through our entire lives. It is this family that must be alternately escaped from and returned to, over and over, in the family dance,” the author said.

Wood has written four works of fiction, most recently the American Booksellers Association best-seller “Any Bitter Thing.”

Her widely anthologized short stories have won a Pushcart Prize and been featured on public radio, including the NPR program “Selected Shorts.” She also writes books for writers and teachers. Her other fiction includes the novels “Secret Language; My Only Story,” a finalist for the Kate Chopin Award; and “Ernie’s Ark,” selected by four Maine towns as a “One Book, One Community” selection. She maintains a Web site at www.monicawood.com.

For more information about the reading, contact Cally Gurley, curator, Maine Women Writers Collection, at 221-4324 or [email protected]

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