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NOTED AUTHOR AND UMFK ALUMNA, CATHIE PELLETIER, SELECTED AS WANETA BLAKE VISITING PROFESSOR OF WRITING

December 21, 2010

NR10103


About Cathie Pelletier:  The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Cathie Pelletier “burst onto the literary scene” with her acclaimed first novel, The Funeral Makers. Nine novels later, Pelletier is one of the country’s most respected authors, prompting The Washington Post to call her “an ambitious, fearless novelist.”
 
Cathie Pelletier is the winner of the New England Book Award for Fiction, among others. She has published seven novels under her own name. As K. C. McKinnon, she has written two novels, Dancing at the Harvest Moon (now in 18 languages and a CBS TV Movie starring Jacqueline Bisset and Valerie Harper) and Candles on Bay Street, published in ten languages. In 2006, her novel Candles on Bay Street, written under the pseudonym of K. C. McKinnon and set in Fort Kent, was a Hallmark Hall of Fame film starring Alicia Silverstone.
 
Pelletier has adapted her novel A Marriage Made at Woodstock for producer George Stevens Jr. She also adapted her first novel, The Funeral Makers, for director Doug Liman (Fair Game; Bourne Identity; Mr. & Mrs. Smith.)
 
Her most recent collaboration is entitled A is for Allagash: A Lumberjack’s Life, a book she wrote with her father, Louis, to honor his 90 years of life.
 
Cathie Pelletier wrote The Christmas Note with Grand Ole Opry star, Skeeter Davis, a children’s story based on an event in Davis’s childhood. She also has written The Ragin’ Cajun, with fiddler Doug Kershaw.  
 
She has acted as literary agent for, among others, Tony Bramwell (Magical Mystery Tour: My Life with the Beatles, St. Martin’s Press) and country star Tanya Tucker (100 Ways to Beat the Blues, Simon & Schuster). She is in the final stages of work on a new novel, The One-way Bridge.

Cathie Pelletier, the award-winning novelist, has been selected as the first Waneta Blake Visiting Professor of Writing by the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Arts and Humanities Division’s program in English.  Pelletier is a 1976 alumna of UMFK.

Pelletier will teach a three-credit course during the spring semester: Writing Workshop & the Writer’s Life, on Mondays and Thursdays from 2 to 3:20 p.m. She also will conduct a three-credit workshop: Stories in the Community, on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8:40 p.m.
 
UMFK’s spring semester begins on Tuesday, January 11, 2011, and runs through Friday, May 6, 2011.
 
The visiting professorship is designed to bring noteworthy writers and scholars to UMFK to work with students through courses, workshops, and seminars.
 
“I am asking some of America's most respected writers of fiction and nonfictionto talk to the writing class by telephone,” says Pelletier. “These kinds of talks connect the aspiring writer to well-published authors who have paved the way. And in learning more about the writing life, we will talk to Tappan Wilder about his uncle, Thornton, and with Dean Faulkner about being raised by Uncle William at Rowan Oak. Iconic writers such as Faulkner and Wilder were aspiring writers once themselves. By talking to those who knew them personally, they suddenly become human; not just a name on a book.”
 
Pelletier says the class is open to avid readers who wish to learn more about the craft of writing, and also to Valley residents who may one day write their life stories for family members. 
 
"It's about the craft of writing and how we can do a better job in capturing our thoughts on paper," she says. "That even applies to writing a great letter, which was once an art form in itself."
 
Some of Pelletier’s friends who have contributed to her previous classes, elsewhere, have included Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo; Wally Lamb; Martha Tod Dudman; Howard Frank Mosher; Ernest Hebert; George Stevens Jr. (writer, founder of the American Film Institute, and producer of The Kennedy Center Honors) and Maine singer-songwriter Dave Mallett.  The list of speakers who will contribute to the class will be determined by the class’ makeup.
 
For her evening class, in which students will conduct assigned interviews from St. John Valley residents, Pelletier has selected four themes: In Country: Vietnam Vets of the St. John Valley; Christmas in Fort Kent: The Early Years; Farms of the St. John Valley; and In Common Ground: Graveyards of the St. John Valley.
 
The topics for this workshop are the subjects of the next four books Pelletier will publish for Northern Maine Books, a small company she has formed in order to record and preserve local history. Class participants will help gather information and photos on the subjects to be included in the books and then work toward polishing the interviews for publication.
 
For further information on registering for Cathie Pelletier’s classes, call the UMFK Registrar’s Office at 834-7520.