Matthew J.C. Clark Submitted photo by Jamie Mercurio

The celebrated Visiting Writers Series will present nonfiction writer Matthew J.C. Clark as the popular program’s final reader of the 2023/24 season. Clark will read from his work at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, in The Landing in the Olsen Student Center at the University of Maine at Farmington. The reading is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing with the author.

Clark’s debut personal essay collection “Bjarki, Not Bjarki: On Floorboards, Love, and Irreconcilable Differences” is a rumination on the people and processes that transform the forest into floors, gift cards, crab rangoon, Jean Claude Van Damme, and what it means to know another person and to connect with them in an increasingly polarized America.

Of “Bjarki, Not Bjarki,” memoirist Jaed Coffin writes, “Clark is trying to write about everything all at once: love and heartbreak and loss; wood and work and loneliness; friendship and privilege, masculinity and honesty and the sad limitations of both…full of contradictions and wilderness, always committed to the impossible question of what it means to be a free and honest person in the world.”

Clark’s work has been published in Ecotone, The Antioch Review, and the Iowa Review, among others. In addition to writing, Clark is a carpenter in Bath. He earned his B.A. at Middlebury College in Religious Studies and his M.F.A in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa.

“Bjarki, Not Bjarki: On Floorboards, Love, and Irreconcilable Differences” is available for pre-purchase at the UMF University Store and Devany, Doak, and Garret Booksellers.

The Visiting Writer Series is sponsored by the UMF Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program, the only program of its kind in the state of Maine and one of only two in all of New England. The program invites students to work with faculty, who are practicing writers, in workshop-style classes to discover and develop their writing strengths in the genres of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Small classes, an emphasis on individual conferencing, and the development of a writing portfolio allow students to see themselves as artists and refine their writing under the guidance of accomplished and published faculty mentors. Students can pursue internships to gain real-world writing and publishing experience by working on campus with The Sandy River Review, a student-run literary magazine; or The Farmington Flyer, a university newspaper.

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