Alice Persons has lived in Westbrook more than 20 years and watched with great interest and hope as the city arts and cultural offerings have increased.

Betsy Sholl Photo courtesy of Alice Persons

“There’s a lot going on in Westbrook these days,” said Persons, who has served on the board of the Walker Memorial Library in town and operates the poetry-centered Moon Pie Press from her home. “The arts scene was pretty nonexistent when I moved here in 1996, but it’s actually pretty hip now. We have a lot of art going on and people are noticing.”

Persons contributes to the cultural mix with an every-other-month reading series featuring Maine authors at senior living community Stroudwater Lodge. At 3 p.m. Friday, former Maine poet laureate Betsy Sholl and longtime mystery writer Julia Spencer-Fleming will read. The readings are free and open to the public.

Persons has organized the series for two years, since soon after the lodge opened. Most people who attend the readings are residents of the lodge. She is hoping to lure more nonresidents. “It’s getting more momentum, which is good. It helps that more and more people are moving in there, and the residents all seem to be good readers. They’re very

Julia Spencer-Fleming Photo by Geoff Green

interested,” she said.

The series adds to the literary weight of Westbook. There’s also a regular poetry reading at Continuum for Creativity, and both Quill Books and Beverage and the library host author talks. Persons organized the series at Stroudwater Lodge to accommodate a range of writers – poets, biographers, essayists, novelists and journalists. Past guests have included thriller writer Dick Cass, poet Anna Wrobel and biographer Ed Rielly.

It’s a simple format. Each writer reads for 20 minutes, then there are 20 minutes of questions.

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