BLUE HILL — Novelist Jonathan Lethem and Slate columnist Laura Miller will speak at Word, a new literary arts festival next weekend in Blue Hill. Miller will interview Lethem at 7 p.m. Friday at Emlen Hall.

Also participating in the festival will be Portland poet and teacher Mikhu Paul and multimedia producer Galen Koch, also of Portland. Southern Maine children’s and young-adult novelists Megan Frazer Blakemore, Cynthia Lord and Maria Padian will discuss how they handle harsh realities in books for young readers.

Jonathan Lethem

A 2015 MacArthur Fellow, Lethem has written 10 novels, five short-story collections, six books of nonfiction and many essays. He is best known for the novel “Motherless Brooklyn.” In 2006 he interviewed the elusive Bob Dylan for Rolling Stone magazine. He teaches creative writing and English literature at Pomona College in Claremont, California.

His latest collection of essays, “More Alive and Less Lonely,” was published in March. Lethem is a part-time resident of Blue Hill and the son of painter Richard Brown Lethem.

Miller is a columnist for Slate and author of “The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia.” She co-founded in 1995 and wrote the “Last Word” column for The New York Times Book Review for two years.

The festival will present a Saturday night spoken-word event, a daytime literary marketplace and workshops for adults and children, including Koch’s two-hour workshop on “Preserving Your Stories.” A graduate of Portland’s Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, Koch is preparing a project that will take a portable recording studio to Maine fishing communities to record histories and personal stories.

Blakemore, Lord and Padian are award-winning authors of multiple novels for children and teens. They will join fantasy novelist Ellen Booraem of Brooklin on a panel entitled “Can’t You Write About Something More Pleasant?” The panel begins at 12:30 p.m.

Mikhu Paul will participate in a Saturday afternoon “poetry crawl” through Blue Hill businesses. A Maliseet Indian, she is the author of the chapbook “20th Century PowWow Playland.” She created a one-woman show of poems and art at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, “Look Twice: The Waponaki in Image and Verse.”

The poetry crawl will run from 2 to 6 p.m., featuring Paul and fellow poets Henry Finch, Bea Gates and Carl Little at downtown businesses and concluding at 5 with a reading by New York poet and teacher melissa christine goodrum, who spells her name in lower-case, and Stuart Kestenbaum, Maine’s poet laureate.

For information, visit or call 374-5632.

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