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UMFK to host writing workshops by Maine author Rhea J. Côté Robbins

October 20, 2008


The University of Maine at Fort Kent will welcome Maine author Rhea J. Côté Robbins to campus for a multi-day writing workshop series November 13-16.  Rhea is an editor and author, part-time faculty member at the University of Maine, and Founder and Executive Director of the Franco-American Women's Institute.  

Côté will offer a memoir writing series entitled “Writing the Textures, Textiles, and Texts of Our Lives Finding and Writing Your Roots” from Thursday, November 13 through Sunday, November 16.   The writing workshop will meet at various times over the four days. 

The creative non-fiction workshop series promises to be a collaborative experience, a “writing inquiry” approach tailored to the students’ works-in-progress, their needs and interests. The format includes writing exercises, readings, slide presentations, and the discussion and development of student work. It will focus on how to recover and analyze traditional and nontraditional data and transform this source material into stories.   

Côté will share examples of the research methods she used in developing an award-winning memoir.  Readings will draw from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros; Silences by Tillie Olsen; and Creative Nonfiction by Philip Gerard.  In addition, students will view films on writers/writing.

“The story of the Franco America/Acadians needs to be shared. This is a great opportunity for everyone, not only those of French Canadian heritage, to work with a seasoned writer and teacher, and to set down, in their own voice, their memories.  The University of Maine at Fort Kent and the Acadian Archives are delighted to invite all Valley residents to these writing workshops,” said Lise Pelletier, director of the Acadian Archives at UMFK. 

“Hopefully, this will lead to the writing of some wonderful memoirs from the rich stories that exist within those of us in the valley,” added Penny Albert, assistant professor of Education at UMFK.      

On Thursday, November 13 at 6 p.m., Ms. Cote will give an evening presentation on college writing, geared towards faculty and local teachers, instructional staff and Education and English majors.  The presentation will focus on engaging writers in utilizing their own real life experiences. 

Additional information detailing Côté’s memoir-writing workshop will be issued in the coming weeks.  

The memoir-writing workshop is offered through the UMFK Academic Outreach office, the Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes, and the UMFK Education Department.   

“We have tried to work with Rhea and the Archives on a schedule that would allow as many people an opportunity to participate as possible.” said Don Eno, coordinator of academic outreach.  

Primary funding for the event is provided through a Libra Foundation grant.  The upcoming workshop series is offered at no cost to the public, teachers, or students. Space is limited.  Interested persons should call Don Eno at 834-7835 to register.