Peaks Island Press

News on Peaks Island Authors

Archive for YA fiction

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two: Cat Valente

An illustration from The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland

An illustration from The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland

Peaks Island author Catherynne Valente has just published “The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two,” her third in a five-part YA fantasy series that has placed her on the New York Times bestseller list.

A reviewer for Booklist said, “As usual, Valente enlightens readers with pearly gleams of wisdom about honesty, identity, free will, and growing up. September often worries who she should be and what path she should follow, but the lovely truth, tenderly told, is that it’s all up to her. Thanks to a dramatic cliff-hanger ending, there is sure to be more empowerment and whimsy to come. Grades 5-8. –Sarah Hunter” and Times Magazine called it, ““One of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century.”—Time magazine, on the Fairyland series.”

Recently, Valente spoke at Portland’s beloved Longfellow Books in Portland and this spurred some television coverage. I thought you might like to watch the television interview with Cat here or below

Interview of Cat Valente

Interview of Cat Valente

or watch a trailer about the series

Scott Nash takes Blue Jay the Pirate to South China, Maine

Blue Jay the Pirate

Blue Jay the Pirate, Scott Nash

Scott Nash is preparing for the next book event with his usual genius. Nash’s rendition of a Blue Willow transferware plate – with his protagonist of The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate at the center – took my breath away. The daughter of an antiques fanatic, I grew up surrounded by things like Blue Willow plates, pewter tankards, and spinning wheels. The detailed setting and character of these plates, inspired by 18th century Chinese ceramics, is a perfect choice for getting us to think about ships, pirates, and South China, Maine, of course!

The South China Public Library, the oldest continuously operating library in Maine, is hosting this author-illustrator whose interactive talks are always a big hit. Here are the details:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

10:30-11:30 AM

South China Public Library, South China, Maine

According to the National Park Service, "The Blue Willow pattern was introduced in England by the Spode factory in the late 1790s. During the 18th century Europe was fascinated by all things Chinese and especially their beautifully hand-painted china with scenes of Chinese landscapes. The Blue Willow pattern is not an exact copy of a Chinese pattern but rather based on several traditional Chinese designs."

According to the National Park Service, “The Blue Willow pattern was introduced in England by the Spode factory in the late 1790s. During the 18th century Europe was fascinated by all things Chinese and especially their beautifully hand-painted china with scenes of Chinese landscapes. The Blue Willow pattern is not an exact copy of a Chinese pattern but rather based on several traditional Chinese designs.”

Peaks Island author Scott Nash offers event at Portland Stage Co.

LongfellowShortsNashPortlandStageJoin The Affiliate Artists and Author/illustrator Scott Nash for a night of readings from his new book, The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay The Pirate, as well as other works by Nash.

An open discussion and book signing will follow the actors’ readings.

April 8th 7 p.m. at Portland Stage Co., Forest Avenue, Portland.

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.”

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