2019 Word Festival Authors

Curious about our authors’ work? You can purchase their books from Blue Hill Books here

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Kifah Abdullah

Kifah Abdulla is a poet, artist, writer, teacher, performer and activist. He was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. Abdulla spent over eight years as a prisoner of war in Iran and over twenty years as a refugee. He is currently the Arabic teacher at Southern Maine Community College, The Language Exchange in Portland Maine, as well as the Arabic calligraphy teacher at Maine College of Art. His first book of poetry, Dead Still Dream, was published in 2016. He is a member of the Portland Public Art Committee (PPAC), has his own radio show, "Poetry and Music" at WMPG.


Charlotte Agell

Charlotte Agell is an author/illustrator of 14 books for children and young adults. Her latest books (Maybe Tomorrow?, a picture book illustrated by Ana Ramirez, and Mud, Sand, and Snow, a board book illustrated by the author) focus on grief, loss, and the healing power of friendship.


Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco, the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, is the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in that role. Born in Spain to Cuban exile parents, he was raised in Miami. The negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his four collections of poetry: “City of a Hundred Fires,” “Directions to The Beach of the Dead,” “Looking for The Gulf Motel” and his latest book of poems, “How to Love a Country.” His memoir “The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood” won a Lambda Literary Award. “One Today,” his inaugural poem, was published as a children’s book. He has a home in Bethel.


Mia Bogyo

Mia Bogyo received a BFA in K-12 Art Education with a studio concentration in ceramics. Since graduating from USM, she has focused on her studio practice, experimenting with traditional watercolor techniques applied to glazing processes. She has been an art educator in various programs in Southern Maine, and has participated in a number of art service projects, including the East Bayside Community Mosaic Mural.


Ellen Booraem

Ellen Booraem spent 20 years as a Hancock County journalist before she quit her day job to write three fantasies for readers age 10 and older (The Unnameables, Small Persons with Wings, and Texting the Underworld). A fourth book is due out in 2021.


Taryn Bowe

Taryn Bowe’s short stories have appeared in Boston Review, PANK, Sycamore Review, The Greensboro Review, and Redivider, and have received special recognition in The Best American Non-required Reading Series. She has taught writing workshops to women at Maine’s Correctional Center, adolescents who have survived suicide loss, and Portland-area high school students. Before joining MWPA as the associate director, Bowe worked as a Health Policy Research Associate at the Muskie School of Public Service. She received her A.B. in Neuroscience and Religion from Bowdoin College and has a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from University of Southern Maine. She lives in Brunswick with her husband and daughter.


Jaed Coffin

Jaed Coffin is the author of A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants (Da Capo/Perseus, 2008) and, most recently, Roughhouse Friday (Riverhead/Penguin, 2019). A regular contributor to Down East Magazine, his essays and stories have appeared in the New York Times, Nautilus, Jezebel, the Sun, and many other publications. He’s been a featured speaker at TEDx and Moth Radio Hour, as well as a guest at over twenty colleges and universities. Jaed teaches creative writing at the University of New Hampshire.


Dave Cullen

Dave Cullen has been covering the blight of mass murders for two decades, first with his landmark 2009 book, Columbine, and this year with Parkland: Birth of a Movement, both New York Times bestsellers. For years, Columbine was the consensus definitive account of that tragedy. Parkland, by contrast, is a story of hope: the genesis of the extraordinary March for Our Lives movement. Dave was with the students from the beginning, with unparalleled access behind the scenes.


George Emlen

George Emlen, who lives in Blue Hill, is a conductor, composer, arranger, song-leader and music educator in Maine and Massachusetts. For 32 years he was music director of Revels, the Boston-based, national organization behind the annual Christmas Revels.


Marie Epply

Marie Moorehouse Epply is a member of the Academy of American Poets and of DownEast Writers. She serves on the steering committee of Word, Blue Hill Literary Arts Festival. An educator for her entire career, Marie has developed and taught numerous creative writing and literature courses and holds a Master of Arts from the University of Maine. Murmur and Flow is her first chapbook. She lives with her husband on the coast of Maine.


Joe Hill

Joe Hill is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Fireman, Full Throttle, NOS4A2, Horns, and Heart-Shaped Box; Strange Weather, a collection of novellas; and the prize-winning story collection 20th Century Ghosts. He is also the Eisner Award-winning writer of a six-volume comic book series, Locke & Key. Much of his work is being adapted for film and television, with NOS4A2 (AMC), Locke & Key (Netflix), By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain (Shudder), and In the Tall Grass (Netflix) slated for release in 2019 and 2020.


Elizabeth Hand

Elizabeth Hand is the author of numerous award-winning novels and collections of short fiction. Her work includes the series of psychological thrillers featuring Cass Neary, “one of noir's great anti-heroes” (Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love), and the historical crime novel Curious Toys (just published), which Publishers Weekly called "a phantasmagoric time trip tailor-made for fans of The Devil in the White City." She divides her time between the Maine coast and London.


Elizabeth Garber

Elizabeth W. Garber is the author of Implosion: A Memoir of an Architect’s Daughter (2018), and three books of poetry, True Affections (2012), Listening Inside the Dance (2005) Pierced by the Seasons (2004). She was awarded writing fellowships at Virginia Center for Creative Arts and Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming. She received a MFA in creative non-fiction from University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program.


Katherine Koch

Katherine Koch, a visual artist and memoirist, has shown her paintings extensively in the United States, Europe, and Mexico. In addition to awards including residencies and a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, she has worked collaboratively with writers, musicians, and theater artists. Excerpts from her forthcoming memoir about growing up among New York School poets and artists have appeared in Hanging Loose, Poetry Daily, The Saranac Review, Court Green, and Nowhere and The Best American Poetry Blog.


Sonja Johanson

Sonja Johanson has recent work appearing in THRUSH, Bellevue Literary Review, and American Life in Poetry. She is the author of Impossible Dovetail (IDES, Silver Birch Press), all those ragged scars (Choose the Sword Press), and Trees in Our Dooryards (Redbird Chapbooks). Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine.


Elizabeth Minkel

Elizabeth Minkel is a journalist, literary critic, and editor who has written about fan culture for the Guardian, the New Statesman, the New Yorker, the Verge, the Millions, and more. She co-hosts a podcast on fan culture, “Fansplaining,” and co-curates a weekly fandom newsletter, “The Rec Center.”


Brook Ewing Minner

Brook is the Director of the Brooksville Free Public Library and the host of Bookworm, a monthly radio show on WERU where she interviews authors to discuss writing, publishing, and life. When she's not reading or talking about books, she likes to bake, run, and travel to far flung places. She lives in Bucksport with her husband, Mark, and their daughter, Mabel.


Emily Nussbaum

Emily Nussbaum is the television critic for the New Yorker. In 2016, she won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. She is the author of I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through The TV Revolution.


Maria Russo

Maria Russo is the children’s books editor of the New York Times Book Review. She has been a writer and editor at the Los Angeles Times, the New York Observer, and Salon, and holds a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband and three children


Betsy Scholl

Betsy Sholl’s ninth collection of poetry is House of Sparrows: New and Selected Poems (University of Wisconsin, 2019). She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program of Vermont College of Fine Arts and served as Poet Laureate of Maine from 2006 to 2011.


Mark Statman

Among Mark Statman’s 10 books, the most recent are two books of poetry, Exile Home (2019) and That Train Again (2015), and the translations Never Made in America: Selected Poems from Martín Barea Mattos (2017). His writing has appeared in numerous journals and16 anthologies. A recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Writers Project, Statman is Emeritus Professor of Literary Studies from Eugene Lang College, The New School, and lives in San Pedro Ixtlahuaca and Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, México


Noel Paul Stookey

Best known as “Paul” of the multi-platinum-selling group Peter, Paul & Mary—and for writing and performing “The Wedding Song”—Noel Paul Stookey has been a singer and songwriter since the 1960s. As an independent musician living in Blue Hill, his newest compositions address major issues from climate change to gun control.


Paul Sullivan

Paul Sullivan, a Sedgwick resident, is a Grammy-winning jazz/classical composer and pianist. He has been music director, pianist, and/or conductor for multiple off-Broadway and Broadway shows and wrote the stage musical “The Last Ferryman” for Opera House Arts in Stonington. As a soloist, with his trio, and as a member of the Paul Winter Consort, he has played concert tours in most of the United States and Europe, as well as the Middle East, Central America, and Asia. His 18 CDs have sold more than 300,000 copies and have won three Indie Awards. He received the Grammy Award for his work on the CD Silver Solstice with Paul Winter.