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Book and Author Luncheon a feast for book lovers

CHAIRMAN of this year’s Book and Author Luncheon Committee Dora Clarkson (left), stands with authors (l-r) Jacqueline Sheehan, Maxine Kumin and Brunonia Barry, and President of Friends of the Wolfeboro Library Inger Woerheide on the patio at Bald Peak Colony Club last Friday, June 4, just before the 27th annual luncheon. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
June 10, 2010
WOLFEBORO — Each year, for the last 27 years, book lovers have been able to attend a feast of literary talent, thanks to the exhaustive efforts of the Wolfeboro Friends of the Library. This year's Book and Author Luncheon took place at the Bald Peak Colony Club against the backdrop of rolling hills and woods descending to the Lake Winnipesaukee shoreline.

Dora Clarkson, chairperson of the Luncheon Committee, served as mistress of ceremonies, first introducing the Friends' President Inger Woerheide to welcome the crowd, followed by three illustrious authors: Brunonia Barry, whose novel, "The Lace Reader," acquired New York Times bestseller fame, who spoke about her latest book, "The Map of True Places;" Maxine Kumin, winner of a Pulitzer prize for her collection of poetry, "Up Country, Poems of New England," read from another collection, "Where I Live;" and Jacqueline Sheehan, a bestselling writer and practicing psychologist, talked about her most recent novel, "Now and Then," a mystical story combining the past and present.

Seated at circular tables bedecked with white table cloths, the audience – some of whom are writers, others who are avid readers – listened to the authors for insights into their muses.

Barry has ties to Duncan Lake in Ossipee, but her stories center on life in Salem, Mass. After a stint as a screenwriter and 20 years in Hollywood, in which she endured fires, riots, a carjacking and earthquakes, Barry came back east. "The Lace Reader" evolved from a dream she had the first night back. "The Map of True Places" centers on a character who is thrown off course by events in her life and must find her way back on course, writing her own map as she goes.

Kumin, whose work is filled with nature images, paused after a poem to offer appreciation for an audience that has familiarity with a bird such as the Pileated Woodpecker, allowing her to read without explanation, in contrast to a Manhattan audience.

"My work comes out of the dirt I live in," Kumin said. Her 34-year-old horse, Boomer, a part of life on her farm in southern New Hampshire. is a feature in her work, as are her dog and visits from bears to her feeder in the darkness of night.

When questioned about her work habits, she recalled the early days as young mother, when she would wake early and immediately delve into writing. After the children were off to school, she would place a pillow on the telephone and put it in a drawer. Sometimes, the children might return to find her still in her nightgown.

A dog gets three chapters in Jacqueline Sheehan's second novel, "Lost and Found." Writing from a dog's perspective was pooh-poohed by at least half of her manuscript group, but she stuck to her guns to express her vision of a black lab as a character with a "heroic personality."

Sheehan said that in her work as a psychologist, she has seen how the love of a dog can turn a person's life around. One suicidal client, in particular, was stymied by the question, "Who will take care of your puppy when you're dead?"

When she visited a bookstore three weeks after that book was released, she called the publisher to find out what was wrong. The answer was that the book was so popular that it was flying off the shelves so fast, they couldn't keep up with demand. For her, that was affirmation of the importance of "listening to your inner voice."

Her latest book, "Now and Then" (yes, there's a dog in it too – this time an Irish Wolfhound) delves into magic and myths and time travel.

Woerheide told the audience at the outset that their attendance makes gifts to the library from the Friends of the Wolfeboro Library possible. Clearly, the audience received gifts, too.

Martin Lord Osman
Martin Lord & Osman
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