BRUNSWICK — Fourteen high schoolers from Harpswell Coastal Academy are now published authors after printing a book of personal narratives with the help of The Telling Room.

“What began as a simple game of Two Truths and a Lie quickly evolved into something more profound than perhaps any of us expected,” said Jenny O’Connell, teaching artist at The Telling Room. “For two hours every Monday and Thursday, these students spoke truth to power. They dealt with loss. They questioned the rules. They recorded the strange and funny details that make up a life.”

Now these students are ready to share those stories with the community.

The published book is titled “Somehow I Knew What to Do” and covers a wide range of stories, poems and first-hand narratives from the local public charter school. The program is part of The Telling Room’s multi-week, in-school residency, during which teaching artists and community volunteers worked directly with students to write, edit and publish the stories and poems that make up an original chapbook. Once released, the book will be available for purchase online.

“To me, this book is a map. A guide for how to deal in a too-big world,” O’Connell said. “It is also a challenge. Cradle the baby bird in your hands. Pick the snake up and put it in the jar. Be curious. Be weird. Face your bully. Find your power. Have you forgotten how? Read on. Somehow, you’ll know what to do.”

“Writing my narrative during The Telling Room residency helped me get out a story that I hadn’t been able to express before,” said Harland Norcott, a 10th grader at Harpswell Coastal Academy.

The school celebrated a book launch on Thursday at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. The book release sparked a monthlong series of events designed to show support to the students and celebrate the occasion.

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“I grew as a writer because the experience pushed me to write in a genre which is not my usual go-to,” said Tianna Hayvis, an 11th grader. “I was in control but had all the support I needed to tell my story.”

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