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“City of Belief” Reading on 45th Anniversary of Blackout

Peaks Island author Nicole d’Entremont will read at Longfellow Books from her novel, City of Belief, which I describe here. City of Belief is set in a Lower East Side soup kitchen in the mid 1960s. November 9th, the date of the reading, coincides this year with the forty-fifth anniversary of the massive blackout that shrouded New York City, and the shocking self-immolation of Roger LaPorte on the steps of the UN building. Both of these are pivotal events in the lives of Catholic relief workers on the Bowery and Vietnam-war protesters.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 7 pm

Longfellow Books, Portland

Reading by Author of “City of Belief”

As ocean waves heighten and the north wind blows harder, the Peaks Island community grows tighter. Reasons to gather are as welcome as a warm mug of coffee on cold hands. This month, the Friend of the Peaks Island Library will


City of Belief

host a reading by author Nicole d’Entremont. Nicole will read from her newly-published novel, City of Belief. Nicole’s personal experience as a Catholic relief worker during the 1960s in a soup kitchen in New York City’s Lower East Side fed her gritty depiction of daily life in a Bowery soup kitchen as well as Catholic workers’ resistance to the Vietnam War draft.

Come savor a November gathering by listening to Nicole read selections from her book.

Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.
Community Room, Peaks Island

Nicole d’Entremont, “City of Belief”

Nicole d'Entremont

Nicole d'Entremont

From stories to soup to Sudden Fiction, Nicole d’Entremont is one of those writers who touches lives, over and over again – with and without her pen in hand. I caught up with Nicole in her studio apartment tucked in an enchanting carriage house on Peaks Island recently and learned that two maritime communities claim her as their own.

Whereas most people flock to Peaks Island in the summer, Nicole reverses that pattern, migrating to her father’s homeland, the Acadian community of Pubnico in Nova Scotia, a cluster of seven harbor villages. Her father’s emigration to the once rural outskirts of Philadelphia placed her there as a child where she started writing stories as a 5th grader. “Writing was always a place I could go where I could control it,” Nicole shared with me. “As a writer, you conjure a world, building it on what you’ve observed, creating something new.”

Pubnico, Nova Scotia

Pubnico, Nova Scotia

Nicole’s observations and her writing about the world are worth reading. Her newly-published novel, City of Belief, stems from her personal experience as a Catholic relief worker during the 1960s in a soup kitchen in New York City’s Lower East Side. If you’re looking for a peace sign- and tie dye-bedecked version of the Vietnam War era, then you’re better off looking at tweener fashions at the local mall. Nicole’s novel captures not only the gritty daily life of a Bowery soup kitchen and the characters who inhabited it, but also Catholic workers’ resistance to the draft. We’re talking trench coat-clad surveillance, FBI phone tapping, and abductions off of the street. “This kind of resistance is not talked about. All of my friends went to jail. It was serious stuff with serious consequences. The sixties wasn’t all party. I wanted people to know that.”

City of Belief

City of Belief

When I asked her about the potential reception to her book by readers living in the midst of the Iraq War controversy, Nicole added, “I wanted young people to know they could say no to the military. There are consequences. But it’s been done before and it can be done again.”

Nicole’s footprint in Portland has been an impressive one; not only has she taught writing for 17 years in Portland’s Adult Education program but she also started the Sudden Fiction approach to writing in 1985, an approach to writing workshops that has become a favorite in Peaks’ writing community.

Nicole self published City of Belief on Amazon’s publishing arm, Create Space, with support from John Wetterau. Peaks artist, Jamie Hogan, designed the stunning cover.

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