Fans of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Elizabeth Strout will get a preview of her highly anticipated new novel, “Olive, Again,” when she reads from the book and talks about her life and career Friday night in Brownfield.

Brunswick author Elizabeth Strout will speak Friday at Stone Mountain Arts in Brownfield. Photo by Leonardo Cendamo

Strout, who lives in Brunswick, is speaking as part of the Evening with Maine Authors dinner and fundraiser for Camp Susan Curtis, which offers summer camping experiences for economically disadvantaged Maine youth.

Friday’s event, which includes a silent auction, begins at 5:30 p.m. at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield. Camp Curtis is in Stoneham. This is the third year of the event.

Maine author Caitlin Shetterly will interview Strout and moderate a question-and-answer session. Strout will begin by reading from the upcoming novel, which will be released in October. It is her sequel to her 2008 novel “Olive Kitteridge,” which won a Pulizer Prize in 2009 and was made into a TV miniseries with Frances McDormand, Bill Murray and Richard Jenkins, set in fictional Crosby, Maine.

Shetterly, who wrote “Modified,” “Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke” and “Fault Lines: Stories of Divorce,” has helped coordinate the writers series at the camp. She was a counselor at the camp when she was 16 and returned in 2018 to teach a writing workshop. She helps organize the reading series and is using her connections in the writing world to recruit big names – like Strout.

“I am crazy about her,” Shetterly said. “Two years ago, I read everything she wrote. I had read ‘Olive Kitteridge’ before, but I sat down in a short period and read everything again. I just thought she would be a great person to bring in. She has enormous sensitivity to so many things.”


Strout’s latest book, “Olive, Again,” comes out in October. Courtesy of Penguin Random House

In addition to reading and talking about her craft as part of the fundraising event in the evening, Strout will work with students at the camp on their writing skills during the day.

“Part of the program I am building for them is not only that the writer comes and reads, but also spends an afternoon teaching the kids so the writer gets to know the camp and some kids get the chance to learn about writing from someone who is a bona fide writer,” Shetterly said.

Strout has written four books in six years, and told Maine Women Magazine this month she’s nearly done with another. Writing did not come quickly or easily to her.

“I don’t know that I was bottled up as much as I just couldn’t find my voice,” Strout told Maine Women Magazine editor Mary Pols. “I spent years and years and years trying to find my storytelling voice and then I found it. And also, I got older, so there were more life experiences that arrived, that one can use in various ways in their work. But I was apprenticing that entire time.”

Tickets cost $85, and only a handful were still available Monday. Proceeds support youth development at Camp Susan Curtis, a program of the Susan L. Curtis Foundation. This summer is the camp’s 45th season. Nearly 500 Maine kids between the ages of 8 and 18 will learn about stewardship, service and team-building.

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