McNair to Read at National Book Festival

UMF Professor Emeritus and Poet Laureate of Maine Wesley McNair selected to read at Library of Congress National Book Festival

FARMINGTON, ME (September 19, 2011)—Wesley McNair, University of Maine at Farmington professor emeritus, writer in residence and Poet Laureate of Maine, has been selected as one of five state poets laureate to give a reading of his poetry and sign his books at the National Book Festival, in Washington, DC.

The National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, will be held on the National Mall on September 24 and 25. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are the honorary chairs of the event and will be in attendance. A crowd of over 150,000 is expected.

Over 100 authors and illustrators have been invited to give presentations at the Festival, including Toni Morrison, Russell Banks, Garrison Keillor, Mary Gordon and Sherman Alexie. The Festival will begin on September 23 with a dinner for authors at the Library of Congress, followed by an author breakfast on September 24 at the Washington Post.

McNair has authored or edited 18 books, including poetry, essays and anthologies. His most recent volume of verse is “Lovers of the Lost: New & Selected Poems” (David R. Godine). His poetry has appeared in the Best American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize annual, the Writer’s Almanac, NPR’s Weekend Edition and more than 60 anthologies. He has held grants from the Fulbright and Guggenheim foundations, two Rockefeller fellowships and two NEA grants in creative writing. Selected for a United States Artists Fellowship in 2006, he has been called by Philip Levine “one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry.”

McNair directed the creative writing program at the University of Maine at Farmington and received the Distinguished Faculty Award and the Libra Professorship. He also served as a visiting creative writing professor at Colby College.

 

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