Reminder: Panel Discussion Mid-Century Maine Women Writers – Tonight, 5:00-7:00 pm

The Maine Women Writers Collection at the University of New England, along with our partner, the University of Maine Augusta, invites you to attend a panel discussion on Mid-Century Maine Women Writers. This event is part of a project at the University of Maine at Augusta, “Maine’s Mid-Century Moment,” which is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Held in honor of Maine’s 2020 bicentennial, “Mid-Century Maine Women Writers” is one of several events around the state that highlight a variety of the makers who helped define Maine for the nation in the middle of the 20th century.

When: Friday, November 6, 2020, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Where: Online: Register for the webinar here, and you will receive a link the day before the event, or watch the livestream at
Free and open to all.

Highlighting the work of three Maine women writers, this panel will explore how these women’s writing engaged with Maine as place and with the social constructs of the mid-Century period.

Panelists and Topics

Ellen Taylor will present on Elizabeth Coatsworth, a best-selling children’s book writer, poet, novelist, and essayist on rural Maine living. Very popular during her lifetime, she won the Newbery award for her children’s book The Cat Who Went to Heaven (1930) and wrote over ninety books between 1910 and 1976. Taylor will discuss her archival findings in the Maine Women Writers Collection as they relate to Coatsworth’s travels in the Far East and their influence in writing her celebrated children’s book.

Joseph Conforti will discuss Mary Ellen Chase, who was born and raised in Maine. The author of over thirty books, she wrote a great deal of Maine-based fiction, including the bestselling novel Windswept (1941). In a 1936 interview in the Portland Sunday Telegram, Chase declared that she wrote “largely because I want to acquaint others with the background of Maine life, with the splendid character of Maine people, and with the unsurpassed loveliness of Maine fields, shores, and sea.”

Lisa Botshon will give a talk entitled “Katharine Butler Hathaway: The Queer Modernism of The Little Locksmith.” The first excerpt of Katharine Butler Hathaway’s enduring 1943 memoir The Little Locksmith was published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1942. The account of the ways in which this diminutive woman, who had been indelibly marked by spinal tuberculosis as a child, was able to liberate herself from conservative ideas about female autonomy, sexuality, and art through the purchase of a house in Castine, Maine, resonated with readers worldwide. This talk will consider how her memoir demonstrates that radical modernist ideas can be created in the rural reaches of Maine through, in part, building upon earlier iterations of queer New England women’s culture.

Presenters Lisa Botshon, Professor of English, University of Maine at Augusta Joseph Conforti, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Southern Maine Ellen Taylor, Professor of English, University of Maine at Augusta Jennifer S. Tuttle, Dorothy M. Healy Professor of Literature and Health and Director of the Maine Women Writers Collection, UNE (moderator)

FMI: contact Cathleen Miller, Acting Curator, MWWC,