Slaven Lecture Series: Cynthia Anderson, “Home Now”

calendar icon June 24, 2020 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

As part of the library’s Robert & Linda Slaven Lecture Series, author Cynthia Anderson will share from her book, “Home Now: How 6000 Refugees Transformed an American Town.”

Like so many American factory towns, Lewiston, Maine, thrived until its mill jobs disappeared and the young began leaving. But then the story unexpectedly veered: over the course of fifteen years, the city became home to thousands of African immigrants and, along the way, turned into one of the most Muslim towns in the US. Now about 6,000 of Lewiston’s 36,000 inhabitants are refugees and asylum seekers, many of them Somali. Cynthia Anderson tells the story of this fractious yet resilient city near where she grew up, offering the unfolding drama of a community’s reinvention–and humanizing some of the defining political issues in America today.

In Lewiston, progress is real but precarious. Anderson takes the reader deep into the lives of both immigrants and lifelong Mainers: a single Muslim mom, an anti-Islamist activist, a Congolese asylum seeker, a Somali community leader. Their lives unfold in these pages as anti-immigrant sentiment rises across the US and national realities collide with those in Lewiston. “Home Now” gives a poignant account of America’s evolving relationship with religion and race, and makes a sensitive yet powerful case for embracing change.

A sixth-generation native of Maine, CB Anderson was born in Bangor and raised in a village on the Androscoggin River, five miles outside the paper-mill town of Rumford.

Anderson’s short stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, North American Review, Pleiades, Flash Fiction Forward (W.W. Norton & Co.), The Masters Review and elsewhere. Prizes include the New Millennium Award and the Mark Twain Award for short fiction. Her collection, River Talk (C&R Press), was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014 and received the 2014 New England Book Festival award for Short Stories.

Anderson lives with her family in Maine and Boston. She teaches writing at Boston University, from which she also holds an M.S. in Journalism. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Redbook, Boston Magazine, Huffington Post, Fourth Genre, The Miami Herald, Brevity,, and others, and has twice been shortlisted in Best American Essays (Houghton Mifflin).

This event is co-sponsored by the library and Blue Hill Books. It is free and open to everyone. Books will be available for sale and signing.

The Robert & Linda Slaven Lecture Series seeks to bring distinguished speakers with expertise in a wide array of subjects to Blue Hill, to share their knowledge on topics of importance to the community and the world. It is supported by a generous gift from the Anahata Foundation.

Location: Howard Room
Event Type: Library-sponsored Adult Event
Registration: No
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