Peaks Island Press

News on Peaks Island Authors

Archive for Laima Vince

Walk with Laima Vince and discover the inspiration for “The Ghost in Hannah’s Parlor”

Come walk with Laima Vince

Are you a literary tourist? Let Laima Vince be your guide

Laima Vince’s passion for Peaks Island led her to write “The Ghost in Hannah’s Parlor.” This middle reader novel starts one night in November on Captain’s Island when a nine-year-old named Hannah goes downstairs for a glass of water. The adventure begins when Hannah meets the ghost of Hilda De Witt Rose, a turn-of-the-century opera star who lives in a rose in Hannah’s parlor wallpaper along with an entire ghost cast of the opera Carmen.

Now you can discover Vince’s inspiration for this children’s book by walking with her tomorrow — to Snake Alley and to where the famous Gem once stood — Friday, July 11th, starting from the Peaks Island branch of the Portland Public Library at 12:30 pm.

How do I get to Peaks Island?

What is Peaks Island Press?

Peaks Island author, educator, and scholar Laima Vince offers Creative Writing Workshop

Laima

Laima Vince on a Peaks Island ferry

Those of you who are subscribed readers of Peaks Island Press have read previously about Peaks Island author, educator, and scholar Laima Vince when I featured one of her many books, The Ghost in Hannah’s Parlor. Given how often Laima’s speaking engagements and international scholarship draw her away, globetrotting, it’s a rare opportunity for islanders – current and aspiring – when she offers a Creative Writing Workshop. Now is your chance.

For those of you who have dreamed of writing a memoir, a novel, or a poem, Laima’s workshop series is designed for those who have written a few pages, but just don’t know how to take the writing further. “By working with structured Creative Writing exercises, they will learn how to access the unconscious mind and mine the psyche for narratives, images, metaphors. My students will learn how to shape and develop ideas and how to follow through with their writing,” Laima said.

Laima is the author of three books of literary nonfiction: Lenin’s Head on a Platter, The Snake in the Vodka Bottle, and Journey into the Backwaters of the Heart, and a novel, This is Not My Sky, in addition to other books. She has twice been awarded a Fulbright in Creative Writing and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant in Literature. Laima earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Columbia University and is now working on completing a second MFA in Nonfiction at the University of New Hampshire. Laima taught Creative Writing at the University of Southern Maine for ten years and for five years was the faculty director of the Stonecoast Summer Writers’ Conference. Among Laima’s former students who wrote their first books while enrolled in her workshops are James Hayman, author of The Cutting and George Rosol, author of This Island Life.
The writing class will meet four Saturday afternoons in June, from 4 to 7 pm (June 8, 15, 22, 29).
The fee for four weeks is $100. Classes will meet at 37 Sterling Street. Please contact Laima Vince Sruoginis at Laimavince@gmail.com or call 329-6449 to sign up.

How do I get to Peaks Island?

Who is Patricia Erikson? – I’m an author, educator, and consultant who lives on Peaks Island in Casco Bay, Maine and blogs at Peaks Island Press to keep up with the many writers whose talent and joie de vivre make this island community an amazing place. I’m also a history geek who blogs at Heritage in Maine.

Laima Vince: “The Ghost in Hannah’s Parlor”

Author Laima Vince (Sruoginis)

Islands pull on people. Ferociously sometimes. People are compelled to live on them; sometimes they convince themselves that they can leave, yet the island draws them back again. I know this because it’s happened to me. Fellow writers Michael Steinberg and Twain Braden have also experienced the ensnaring quality of the island, leaving “the Rock” in their wake, only to have it reel them back. Of all those who have felt the island’s gravitational pull, Laima Vince’s orbit has the longest radius; after living on Peaks Island for ten years with her three children, she returned to Lithuania as a Fulbright lecturer to Vilnius University, where she had studied and translated poetry years earlier as a student.

Vince brought her own award-winning skills as a poet and translator to her scholarship in war-torn Lithuania, publishing several books, including “Lenin’s Head on a Platter” in 2008 with the Lithuanian Writers’ Union Press. But it was Laima’s tie to Peaks Island that led her to write “The Ghost in Hannah’s Parlor.” This YA novel starts one night in November on Captains Island when a nine-year-old named Hannah goes downstairs for a glass of water. The adventure begins when Hannah meets the ghost of Hilda De Witt Rose, a turn-of-the-century opera star who lives in a rose in Hannah’s parlor wallpaper along with an entire ghost cast of the opera Carmen.

Laima still spends as many months of the year as possible on Peaks Island and I caught up with her one day where all islanders do  – on the ferry. “I call it Captains Island, but it’s inspired by Peaks – the neighborhood, the history of opera on the island, the path to the school. Islanders will recognize all of these things.”

Opera? On Peaks Island? Didn’t she mean the history of opera in Portland? When Vince’s characters go back to 1910 with the help of their ghost, they move through an island world difficult to imagine when walking the streets today, an island peppered with more than a dozen hotels, several grocery stores, and notably, multiple theaters and ferry landings, and an amusement park. “Writing this book made me interested in learning more of the history of the island. It’s so fascinating.”

Gem Theater and historic hotel on Peaks Island, both now gone

As the recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and former Director of the Stonecoast Summer Writers’ Conference at the University of Southern Maine, it’s clear that Laima’s accomplishments have astonishing breadth. From poetry to the oral history of holocaust survivors to YA novels, Vince has demonstrated her love for writing and that Peaks Island still has a hold on her.

Here’s some footage of Laima reading from some of her Lithuanian work “Lenin’s Head on a Platter.”

%d bloggers like this: