March 27, 2014
By Meagan Winker, Staff Reporter
On March 27th at 7:30PM, students will get the opportunity to hear Maria Flook read from her work of nonfiction under the tri-colored stage lights of The Landing at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF). Flook is slated as the nonficiton writer in the Visiting Writers Series, put on by the BFA Faculty and the UMF Writers Guild.
Flook currently has two nonfiction books out: “Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod” and “My Sister Life: The Story of My Sister’s Disappearance.” However, she may not choose to read from either. “She can decide on whatever she wants,” said Professor Jeffrey Thomson, a BFA Faculty member who helps coordinate the Visiting Writers Series. “If she’s got a new project, she might be excited about that and want to read it, or she might have a book that’s just out.” The faculty and Writers Guild usually leave the reading choice up to the author, so long as it is in the designated genre he or she comes for.
Though she is coming to UMF as a nonfiction writer, Flook has been recognized for her work in poetry and fiction as well. “She publishes multiple genres. She has a couple books of poetry, she has nonfiction, she has novels, she does everything, but she is here for the nonfiction slot,” said Thomson.
Thomson also mentioned a strange trend in the writers who come to UMF to read. “We have a really good track record of bringing people who are just about to do major things. I mean, Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer, you know, just after we invited her. Nikki Finney won the National Book Award,” he said. “Like they come here and then they blow up.” Perhaps Flook with benefit from “the UMF bump”, as Thomson called it.
Alyssa Mahoney, a senior Creative Writing and English major and President of the Writers Guild tries to attend every Visiting Writer who comes to UMF. Even though Mahoney says she is “one hundred percent fiction,” in terms of reading and writing preferences, she is still looking forward to Flook’s reading. “I’m excited. I’m always excited. It’s always really fun,” Mahoney said.
She is particularly interested in hearing what Flook is writing about and the author’s writing style. “It’s just really good to see how different people write, especially how different people read because you don’t think that’s a big thing but like so many writers have different ways of going about approaching their work and like reading it out loud,” she said. Mahoney is also interested in meeting the author face-to-face in her Senior Seminar class, where they are reading “My Sister Life.”
As a senior looking forward to a career in writing, Mahoney also mentioned the benefits of prospective writers attending Flook’s reading, or any Visiting Writer for that matter. “I think [people] should go so they can have hope that there are successful writers out there in each type of writing,” Mahoney said with a laugh. “And that it’s like not impossible to do it.”
Flook is currently a Writer-In-Residence at Emerson, located in Boston, Massachusetts. Besides her nonfiction works, Flook has published two poetry collections, three novels, and a collection of short stories. Her work has also appeared in the New Yorker, as well as several other distinguished publications.
The reading will take place on Thursday, March 27th in The Landing at 7:30PM and it is open to the public. Coffee and tea are provided at the event and Flook’s books will be available for purchase for anyone who wants to read her work. For more information about Maria Flook, students can visit her website at: http://www.mariaflook.net/.
For any students wishing to join the Writers Guild, it meets on Mondays at 7pm in the third floor of the Creative Writing House.