WINTHROP — Nationally acclaimed and bestselling writer Susan Conley will give a talk at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Charles M. Bailey Public Library.

Conley intended to document her move to China with her husband and two young boys, but in 2007 she discovered lumps in her breasts. Her struggles are compiled in her new memoir, “The Foremost Good Fortune,” an O magazine pick. The Washington Post said of the book, “You hear about riveting prose, and this is it. The Foremost Good Fortune is just about as honest a book as you’ll ever read. This is a beautiful book about China and cancer and how to be an authentic, courageous human being.”

In a foreign land with foreign medical sensibilities, she found she had to push for immediate treatment. “I was compelled to be an advocate for myself and keep it together for my kids.”

She also found community in an unlikely place. “That was the other big thing for me, realizing that I had to ask for help, from friends that I hadn’t even known all that long and realizing that people were really there for me.”

Conley is a native of Maine whose work has been published in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Paris Review, the Harvard Review and The North American Review. As an editor at Ploughshares Magazine in Boston, she wrote book reviews and profiles. She’s also taught creative writing and literature at several colleges including Emerson College, Simmons College, The University of New England, and within Harvard’s Teachers as Writers Program.

After her second son was born, Susan and her husband, Tony, moved their family back to Portland, where Susan and two writer friends started a creative writing lab called The Telling Room, which has since become a literary hub for southern Maine. Now back from their time in China, she and her husband and two boys are living in Portland, where Susan is teaching for The Telling Room once again, as well as finishing a novel. Following the success of The Foremost Good Fortune, Maine Today Media honored Susan with the Great Women of Maine Award.

Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event through Apple Valley Books.

For more information, call 377-8673.


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