LEWISTON — Lewiston’s Franco-American Collection (FAC) is launching an innovative reading series for 2019-2020. According to FAC Program Chairman and board member Denis Ledoux, “… Realizing that there are many accomplished Franco-American writers currently creating and producing books of value, we are presenting five of our own to the community in the ‘Meet a Franco Author’ series. The focus of this year’s offerings is ‘Franco-America at the Interstice of Identities’.”

The new reading series is free, due to a grant from the Québec Delegation in Boston, and is open to the public. In 2019-2020, the FAC will make available to the public two fiction writers, two poets and one historian.

All programs will be held at 7 p.m. Mondays in Room 170 at Lewiston-Auburn College, University of Southern Maine, Westminster Street.

“We all hold many different identities — our gender, our employment, our ethnicity and so forth,” said Ledoux, reading series program chairman. “This year, we at the Franco-American Collection are seeking to explore how various Franco authors combine their Franco identity with other identities — hence our year’s theme: ‘Franco-America at the Interstice of Identities’.”

On Sept. 23, FAC will host Ernest Hébert of Keene, New Hampshire, whose inaugural novel “Dogs of March,” the first in a series of six books that take place in the fictional town of Darby, New Hampshire, created a stir when it was published in 1979. Hébert is retired from the creative writing faculty at Dartmouth University after a distinguished career.

On Nov. 25, FAC will present Suzanne Pelletier, who is well known in the area as a poet and community supporter. She will read from her previous book of poetry, “Immigrant Dream,” as well as from her second book, “This Unheeded Eden.” Pelletier has been active on the boards of many area organizations.

Feb. 24, 2020, is scheduled for Steven Riel, editor-in-chief of the Franco-American literary e-journal Résonance. He served as poetry editor of RFD Magazine from 1987 to 1995. Riel, the author of numerous poetry collections, was selected as a 2016 Fellow by the Lambda Literary Foundation and was named the 2005 Robert Fraser Distinguished Visiting Poet at Bucks County (PA) Community College. He holds an MFA in poetry.

On March 23, 2020, the FAC will bring Ron Curie Jr.. Currie’s first book, “God is Dead,” was published in 2007, earning Currie the Young Lions Fiction Award from the New York Public Library, as well as the Metcalf award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Critics praised the book’s daring mix of dark humor and earnest sentiment.

Closing the series on April 27, 2020, will be David Vermette, a Franco-American researcher and writer who has studied the history and identity of the descendants of the French in North America. His flagship book, “A Distinct Alien Race: The Untold Story of Franco-Americans,” is the product of more than 25 years of passionate inquiry into everything concerning the descendants of North American French people’s history and identity.

Each presenter will read and speak for 30 minutes, then entertain questions for 15-20 minutes. Each has agreed to remain for informal conversations with audience members. Writers will also make books available for sale.

Information on becoming a member of the Franco-American Collection will also be available.


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