scorecardresearch Skip to main content
New england literary news

‘My Island’ features images, words of young Maine islanders

Patrisha McLean’s new book, “My Island,” features her portraits of children such as 5-year-old Mabel, shown in a cabin on Islesboro, Maine, built by her great-great-grandfather.

Intrigued by the islands offshore from her hilltop home in Camden, Maine, photographer Patrisha McLean started hopping on ferries to visit them. Two in particular claimed her attention: the 14-mile-long Islesboro, which has 600 year-round residents, and Vinalhaven, 12 miles offshore and home to one of the world’s largest lobster-fishing fleets.

McLean began to take pictures of young summer and year-round residents and engaged them in conversation. Her new book, “My Island: Portraits of Maine Island Children” (Islandport), presents her black-and-white photographs and the words of her subjects. Virginia, 16, says, “Sometimes when you get a lobster in your hand they vibrate like your phone will vibrate.”


Out of the mouths of children and teens come savvy and innocence, joy and boredom, and an awareness that island life is like no other. Sixteen-year-old Hannah explains: “When you go to the mainland it takes a little while to adjust. . . . You can go to all these stores, and they don’t close at four o’clock. And there are all these people you don’t know. And stoplights!”

Tour visits literary greats’ gravesites

You may know that poets Anne Sexton and e.e. cummings are buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain. But did you know that the cemetery also is the final resting place for Lewis Waterman, inventor of the fountain pen?

Historian Anthony Sammarco will lead a 90-minute literary walking tour of Forest Hills Cemetery on Aug. 19 at 5:30 p.m. Other graves on the tour include that of Annie Haven Thwing, author of “The Crooked & Narrow Streets of the Town of Boston 1630-1822,” and Susanna Haswell Rowson, whose 1791 novel “Charlotte Temple” was said to be the biggest seller in American literature before Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was published in 1852. The tour begins at the main gate. Cost is $10.

Cultural magazine plans print debut

Take, a new magazine based in Northampton, covers culture throughout New England, including literary topics as well as art, theater, dance, fashion, music, and design. It’s been posting stories online since the spring, among them, a feature about the Word Barn’s Silo Series in Exeter, N.H. The first print issue is due out the last week of August.


To help with costs, it is holding a Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 by Aug. 14. Potential contributors are invited to “support the creation of a print and online magazine that tells stories about people who are making New England’s new culture happen.”

Food and drink are definitely integral to the region’s culture, and editor in chief Lauren Clark has strong credits in that realm. The former bartender and brewer published the popular blog from 2006 to 2011, and last year published “Crafty Bastards: Beer in New England from the Mayflower to Modern Day” (Union Park).

Coming out

■  “Flood of Fire” by Amitav Ghosh (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

■  “Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism” by Barry M. Prizant with Tom Fields-Meyer (Simon & Schuster)

■  “Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins” by Susan Casey (Doubleday)

Pick of the Week

Peggy Elefteriades of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn., recommends “Black Chalk” by Christopher J. Yates (Picador): “In Thatcher-era England, six Oxford University students start a ‘game.’ The dares begin as innocuous fun. As time goes on, however, the stakes become much higher — even deadly. Fourteen years later, the remaining players meet in New York City to finish what they started. This is a sinister and suspenseful read.”


Jan Gardner can be reached at