Maine has been home to many writers over the years. The state is known for the inspiration it provides. The dramatic landscapes and tranquility inspire art of all kinds and hold a stark place in the collections of many artists. The quality of Maine's seasons, with its quiet, long winters and breezy, seaside summers, enhance the emotions of many and stir up the artistic tendencies in visitors and locals alike.
Most well-known among living Maine writers is Stephen King, the author of many popular horror novels, such as Carrie
, and The Shining
. Many of King's novels take place in Maine, and King himself was born in Portland and continues to live in Bangor. The occasional eerie quality of the state, manifested in its stark wintery landscapes and topography, is most accurately captured in King's novels. King's house looms large in Bangor, and many visitors make the trek to view it when they visit. Its colonial grandeur is separated from the town by a black fence, and one can see how it would fit into a King novel; the New England-style red towers stir up the imagination and conjure up visions of gothic characters.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin
, was a resident of Brunswick, Maine. Though she was a published author before she moved to Maine, she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin
between 1850 and 1852 when she lived in the historic Whitmore House in Brunswick. It is unfortunately not open to the public at this time, but visitors can still view it on the Bowdoin College campus.
The state is home to many aspiring young writers, as well as programs that support these writers. The Stonecoast Writer's Conference
, which occurs during the peak of the idyllic Maine summer, is sponsored by the University of Southern Maine and invites writers to escape to Maine and devote an intensive week to working on a piece of writing: a novel, poetry, etc. Lectures occur during the day, and students read their works to others during the evening. As the website states, "all classrooms have water views,” and aspiring writers can absorb the quiet beauty of the state while finally having some time to work on an ongoing writing project.
The Maine Beer Writer's Guild
is a group of writers whose goal is to "promote better beer writing and celebrate Maine's craft brew culture.” This group is open to any writer who calls Maine his or her home.
Fifth House Lodge
is another option for those writers who wish to retreat to Maine to find some time to settle into the consuming task of writing. "A place of extraordinary simplicity, beauty and peace,” this retreat location is open to all writers who wish to work with a private writing coach (Joan Lee Hunter, director), to hone and practice the art of writing. There are personalized writing retreats as well as group writing retreats, and all occur in the "lake and mountain country” of Maine.
The long history of writing in Maine is a reason enough to visit. The artistic sensibility is accessible and obvious to all visitors, and encourages a longer stay and an escape to creativity.
by Heather Clarke