The Maine Humanities Council, based in Portland, recently was awarded a $220,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support programming that will create opportunities for Mainers to discuss matters of critical civic importance, according to a news release from the council.

Literature and Public Life is a three-year, statewide initiative scheduled to begin in the fall. The goal of the initiative is to bring together Mainers of all backgrounds to engage with public policy issues that profoundly shape Maine communities. Topics will include healthcare, education, end-of-life and domestic violence.

Using fiction, poetry, film and other texts as an entry point for discussion, the goal of the initiative is to to promote deep and broad public engagement with issues that affect the well being of the people and communities of Maine.

“As a state, we face important and difficult challenges,” said Hayden Anderson, executive director of the Maine Humanities Council, in the release. “Through Literature & Public Life, we hope to bring Mainers of all backgrounds together in conversations that can help us begin to figure out how to address the key questions that will shape our shared future.”

By creating space for open conversation, the initiative will encourage inclusive conversation, foster deeper democratic participation, and offer important discussions on complex civic issues.

For more information, call 773-5051.