Adam White at a book signing for his novel “The Midcoast” at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta last year. Photo courtesy of Adam White

The picturesque town of Damariscotta is known for its oysters, annual pumpkin festival, and quaint Main Street which boasts two Renys department stores. Soon it may find even more fame as the setting for a Hulu TV show.

Adam White, who grew up in Damariscotta, confirmed this week that his best-selling novel “The Midcoast” is being developed by the Littlefield Company and 20th Television as a possible hourlong series for the popular streaming service. Other recent series the Littlefield Company produced include “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Dopesick” on Hulu and “The Old Man” on FX.

Development is in the early stages, and the show has not yet gotten final approval, White said. Though no cast or filming locations have been announced, producers are working toward making a pilot episode.

“I think it’s really exciting to have little Damariscotta getting all this attention. I really liked the book. I think (White) got it right in the way he portrayed the town,” said Annie Farnsworth, assistant manager at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop on Main Street, who read the book. “It’ll be interesting to see if Hulu gets it right, too.”

If it becomes a Hulu series, “The Midcoast” will likely draw a large, eager audience of locals, who have bought the book in big numbers. More than 990 copies had been sold at her Sherman’s store as of this week, Farnsworth said. Sherman’s has nine locations around Maine and sold a little more than 2,000 copies at all the stores combined.

“I think that would be really great for our town, it doesn’t happen every day,” Melissa Organ, manager at King Eider’s Pub on Elm Street, said of the possible series. “It would give us more publicity, and recognition, besides the things we’re already known for.”


“The Midcoast” is set in Damariscotta and focuses on Ed Thatch, a lobsterman-turned-drug-runner who has become the richest man in town and is obsessed with giving his wife the opulent lifestyle he thinks she deserves. It’s a crime story, White says, but also a study of family and class dynamics in a small coastal Maine town.

Organ said she doesn’t think the fact the book focuses on sinister doings in town has upset anyone, at least not anyone she’s talked to.

“I think people who read it just thought it was fun. Nobody takes seriously the idea that a lobsterman would do that,” said Organ, who has not read the book. “I don’t think it taints the industry. People just talk about it as a mystery that’s set here.”

Main Street in Damariscotta on Friday. “The Midcoast,” a novel by Adam White, who grew up in town, tells the story of a lobsterman-turned-drug-runner. It’s being developed as a series for streaming service Hulu but needs final approval. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

But there are others in town, White says, who swear they know the family that the Thatches are based on. But that’s impossible since White made the family up.

White said Thursday he was surprised by how much interest his debut novel sparked among production companies after it went on sale in June. He had spent parts of 11 years writing it, got an agent, and then found one publisher who was really interested in it, Hogarth Books.

So he was taken aback when about a dozen companies and producers sought him out last summer to talk about potential film or TV adaptations.


“I had to take a moment to try to realize what was happening,” said White, 40, who lives in Boston with his wife and son. “All of these people are interested in this thing I wrote? It was a new experience for me.”

Warren Littlefield, the executive producer on the project, praised the book and its screen potential in an email to the Press Herald this week.

” ‘The Midcoast’ is a propulsive crime family saga with a gorgeous backdrop that could only come from an authentic homegrown talent like Adam,” Littlefield wrote. “From first glance, we were drawn into what would clearly be something special … much like the Maine coast. It’s rare to find a piece of material that resonates so strongly and uniformly.”

Annie Farnsworth is the assistant manager at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop. “I think it’s really exciting to have little Damariscotta getting all this attention,” Farnsworth said. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Brett Johnson, a co-creator of the Showtime series “Escape at Dannemora,” will write and serve as an executive producer, along with four members of the Littlefield Company team. White also is listed as an executive producer but says his role will be mainly as a consultant.

White, who wouldn’t disclose the financial details of the deal, said he accepted Littlefield’s offer for the rights to his book because he felt the production team’s resume showed that they could make quality shows.

“What I admired about ‘Dopesick,’ especially, was that they had real characters in an authentic setting told truthfully,” White said.


White, who teaches English and writing at St. Sebastian’s, a private boys school in Needham, Massachusetts, said the “plan” right now is to keep the setting of the show in Maine. White’s observations of daily life in Damariscotta, from his time, living and working there, help inform the details and feel of his novel, he said.

White came to Damariscotta from Massachusetts at the age of 3. His father, Ed White, an orthopedic surgeon, worked at Miles Memorial Hospital in town and St. Andrews Hospital in Boothbay Harbor. White went to high school at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, largely because he wanted to play hockey, and there were no school hockey teams near his home.

But he returned to Damariscotta in the summers and worked at the Rogue River Cafe, owned by his mother, Wendy Hebb. He made sandwiches and scooped ice cream at stores she ran, too. He also worked at a fisherman’s co-op in South Bristol, down the Pemaquid Peninsula from Damariscotta.

Melissa Organ, the manager at King Eider’s Pub on Elm Street, awaits St. Patrick’s Day revelers. A Hulu television series based in Damariscotta “would be really great for our town,” Organ said. “It doesn’t happen every day.” Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

White got his undergraduate degree in English literature and creative writing from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in 2005 and his master’s in fiction writing from Columbia University in New York City in 2012. He began writing “The Midcoast” while in grad school.

The book is narrated by a character who has similarities to White. He’s also an English teacher who grew up in Damariscotta and left, but unlike White, came back to live. The character knew Ed Thatch growing up and now has become fixated on him and his family.

The book got rave reviews when it came out.


“Brimming with keen observation, not just of the landscape but of dialect and class distinctions and all the tiny, vital particularities that make a place real in fiction, ‘The Midcoast’ is an absorbing look at small-town Maine and the thwarted dreams of a family trying to transcend it,” wrote Lee Cole in the New York Times.

“The Midcoast” also was one of the Times’ “10 New Books We Recommend” in June.

The book also was a big draw as soon as it hit the shelves of the local Skidompha Public Library in town last year, said Matthew Graff, the executive director. There aren’t too many books coming out these days set in Damariscotta, so people were naturally interested.

A copy of Adam White’s novel “The Midcoast” at Sherman Bookstore in Damariscotta. The store had sold almost 1,000 copies as of Friday afternoon. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

As far as a potential TV series, Graff thinks that Damariscotta is a “lovely, wonderful town,” and he’d be happy to “have it shown on the national stage. People here have a lot to be proud of.”

“The Midcoast” will be coming out in paperback on May 23. White will likely be doing more book events this year, which will be listed on his website, On June 22, White will be interviewed by former Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz during an online event for Maine Public’s “All Books Considered Book Club.”

During one visit to Sherman’s last year, White said he signed about 100 books. He said he casually thought to himself, “I’m kind of a big deal.” But store staff told him a lot of people interested in the book were asking if Dr. White’s son had written it. He realized his father, who has “probably operated on half the peninsula,” was the local celebrity in the family.

But if White’s book helps make Damariscotta the setting of a hit TV show, that could change.

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