Novelist Amor Towles to speak in Portland

New York Times best-selling novelist Amor Towles will talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, and Mainer, Richard Russo for the Wayfinder Schools annual author fundraiser in April.

The Wall Street Journal named Towles’ “Rules of Civility” one of the best books of 2011. His “A Gentleman in Moscow” earned the same honor from the Chicago Tribune (“marvelous”), Philadelphia Inquirer (“so beautifully written that every page is a joy”), San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post (“delightful”) and NPR in 2016.

The two writers will converse at 7 p.m. on April 11; an author’s reception precedes the event, which will be held at the University of Southern Maine’s Hannaford Hall in Portland. Tickets cost between $40 and $125 and support the alternative schools, based in Camden and New Gloucester. The schools target at-risk youth, helping with jobs, academics and life skills. Buy tickets through eventbrite.com, but don’t lollygag; they are expected to sell out.

Submissions sought for new climate change anthology

Two local poets are seeking submissions from Maine writers of all ages for an anthology on climate change. Writers should send essays of no more than 1,000 words or no more than two poems on climate change to [email protected]. The poems and essays can be previously published or unpublished, said Portland resident Meghan Sterling, who is organizing the project with Freeport resident Kathleen Sullivan. They seek to represent a range of ages, including children, in the anthology.

How can Maine poets and essayists have an impact on a disaster that requires prodigious practical and scientific effort on a global scale to address?

Sterling and Sullivan replied to that question in an email:

“Now it is up to the artists. The scientists have warned us. They have been warning us for 50 years. But we have only 12 years to dramatically reduce our current carbon use before we cross the line into unprecedented climate catastrophe. We are putting together an anthology of Maine poets and essayists whose work will wake us, stir our imaginations both for our global future and our way of life here in Maine. We are looking for writing which helps us find language for the fear, guilt and grief of this moment, and, perhaps, for the hope.”

Submissions are due by May 31. Sterling and Sullivan will sort them come summertime, and they hope to get the book published next fall; one publisher has already expressed interest. Why the speed? “A lot of people are really fired up” about climate change, Sterling said, and the anthology is timed to capitalize on that.

What the mix of essays to poems will be is unclear. “I think there is a chance we’ll get a nice mix,” Sterling said. “We’re just going to let it unfold.”

Writers can also mail submissions to: It’s the Artists’ Turn, P.O. Box 11192, Portland, ME, 04104.

— PEGGY GRODINSKY