Author Morgan Talty speaks in front of UMF students and teachers before he begins reading chapters from his book on Thursday, Nov. 17. Talty is the third writer to visit UMF this semester as part of their Visiting Writer Series. Brian Ponce/Franklin Jounrnal

FARMINGTON — UMF hosted their Visiting Writers Series on Thursday, Nov. 17, with author Morgan Talty. The event was held in the Landing in the Olsen Student Center.

Talty read from his award-winning book Night of the Living Rez. The novel contains a series of short stories following a member of the Penobscot Nation and their life growing up on a reservation. A member of the Penobscot Nation, Talty drew upon his own life experience to help realize these characters.

“With the themes of addiction and violence, substance abuse, you know, all of those things, I’m no stranger to them,” Talty said, “I grew up in environments like that. And so, it wasn’t very difficult for me to draw on that stuff.”

When asked what his inspirations were for writing his book, Talty stated that it was a deep desire to understand something he couldn’t articulate. “At least that’s why I write, which led me to write this story collection,” he added, “And once I met the characters on the page, I wanted to know more about them. I feel like literature is all about the human condition, and so writing this book was my effort to come to understand it in a better way.”

Talty lists Brandon Hobson, Chelsea T. Hicks, Richard Van Camp and Erika T. Wurth as some of his favorite writers.

Along with being an author, Talty also works as an Assistant Professor of English in Creative Writing and Native American and contemporary Literature at the University of Maine, Orono, and he is on the faculty at the Stonecoast MFA in creative writing as well as the Institute of American Indian Arts. Talty is also a prose editor at The Massachusetts Review.

According to Talty, he didn’t start writing until he turned 18, but he had always been telling stories. “I was always a storyteller,” he said. “I loved telling stories orally, and when I got to college I finally fell in love with literature and saw I could do what I love.”

Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Amy Neswald stated that Talty would be the last visiting writer for the year and the series would resume in February 2023.

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