Book Notes: Woodstock Library to Hold ‘Salon’ With Three Writers

Woodstock’s Norman Williams Public Library will host what it’s billing as a literary salon fundraiser next Friday evening with authors Katharine Britton, Howard Coffin and Ernest Hebert.

Each of the writers will read from and talk about their works, and sign books and speak individually with attendees.

The writers bring three very different backgrounds and perspectives, though all three are very much rooted in New England.

Hebert grew up in Keene and worked at manual labor jobs before attending college in his late 20s and getting his first writing job, in the Keene Sentinel’s sports pages, at age 31. Since then, he’s written an acclaimed series of novels set in the fictional southeastern New Hampshire town of Darby. His most recent book, Never Back Down, is his most autobiographical, an exploration of what Hebert’s life might have been like had he not gone to college. Hebert is a full professor at Dartmouth College and after years in West Lebanon now lives in Westmoreland, N.H., near Keene.

Britton, a Norwich resident, earned a master’s degree in creative writing at Dartmouth and is the author of two novels. The first, Her Sister’s Shadow, examines the fractured relationship of a pair of sisters who grew up on the Massachusetts coast. Her second novel, Little Island, is slated for publication next year.

Coffin, a Woodstock native now living in Montpelier, is a former journalist, a former press secretary for U.S. Sen. James Jeffords and the author of several books on Vermont’s role in the Civil War. His forthcoming book, Something Abides: Discovering the Civil War in Today’s Vermont, covers 3,000 sites around the state that relate to the Civil War.

Tickets are $35, and are available at the library, or by calling 802-457-2295. Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit library. There will be refreshments.

∎ The long and varied career of Hartland writer Sarah Stewart Taylor takes another turn with the official launch of The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man’s Canyon next Saturday, Nov. 17, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Norwich Bookstore. The Expeditioners, for readers 8 and up, is the first in a series. It follows three siblings, ages 10, 13 and 14, orphaned after the disappearance of their father, a famed explorer. He left half a map leading to a fabulous treasure, a hoard also sought by a corrupt government agency.

Taylor is the author of several books — including a series of mysteries and a graphic novel about Amelia Earhart — and a former Valley News staff writer. Katherine Roy, a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, where Taylor teaches writing, illustrated the story.

∎ Congratulations to historian and author Jill Lepore, the 2012 Sarah Josepha Hale Award medalist. Lepore, the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker, will receive the Hale Award, given annually by Newport’s Richards Free Library, in a ceremony tomorrow evening at 8 in the Newport Opera House.

Lepore follows in a long line of illustrious New England writers from nearly every genre imaginable to receive the Hale Award, including Robert Frost, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Roger Tory Peterson, Barbara Tuchman, Tom Wicker, Grace Paley and, most recently, Galway Kinnell.

The award is named for Sarah Josepha Hale, who was born in Newport in 1788 and went on to become an influential teacher, writer and editor.

∎ Victoria Redel, a Dartmouth graduate and former Upper Valley resident, will read from her newly published collection of poems, Woman Without Umbrella, this evening at 7:30 at Left Bank Books in Hanover.

∎ Lyme resident Dave Celone has organized a low-key poetry reading for Nov. 29 in White River Junction.

“The idea is to encourage people who attend to bring a favorite poem or two to read aloud,” either their own work or that of another poet, Celone wrote in an email. Each participant will be allotted three to five minutes. The reading will take place at Lampscapes, a store on Gates Street, opposite Northern Stage, and start at 7. Celone estimates it will last until 8:30 or so.

Contact Celone, who is an MFA candidate in the writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, at

∎ Also Nov. 29, at 7 p.m., Howe Library in Hanover will expand its popular “Rapid Reviews” series to the public. Rapid Reviews features three librarians who each review 10 books in 10 minutes. Refreshments and chatter about books follow the half-hour of reviews. For more information, contact the Howe at 603-643-4120.

Alex Hanson can be reached at or 603-727-3219.