Founded in 1975, the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance is a membership-driven nonprofit organization that works to enrich the literary life and culture of Maine. We are the only statewide organization solely devoted to supporting and promoting Maine’s writers, publishers, booksellers, and literary professionals. The MWPA has a membership of more than 1,300.
Our goals include: promoting an appreciation of Maine literature; creating a network of writers, readers, and publishers; creating opportunities for writers to improve writing and marketing skills; and informing members and the public of Maine literary and publishing news.
Throughout the year, the MWPA offers workshops and seminars at locations across Maine, which includes two annual writing and craft retreats. We host professional marketing events, such as PITCH, one-on-one sessions with literary agents. In addition, the MWPA co-sponsors and facilitates literary events across the state, such as the Belfast Poetry Festival and the Bangor Book Festival.
It was early June 1975 when seven Maine writers signed the incorporation papers that founded the MWPA: Agnes Bushell, Miriam Dyak, David Empfield, Bruce Holsapple, Peter Kilgore, Lee Sharkey, and Lynn Siefert. On the occasion of the MWPA’s 20th anniversary, co-founder Agnes Bushell (of Littoral Books) recounted the organization’s early years in a piece entitled “MWPA: Looking Back.”
In October 2010, the MWPA received PEN New England’s prestigious Friend to Writers Award, which is given annually to just one individual and one organization.
Thanks to the continued support of the University of the Southern Maine, the MWPA’s offices are housed within the Glickman Family Library on USM’s Portland Campus.
Joshua Bodwell, Executive Director
Joshua Bodwell is the executive director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. He is a regular contributor to Poets & Writers Magazine where his author profiles have included Ann Beattie, John Casey, Andre Dubus III, Richard Ford, and Richard Russo. He is a contributing editor at the online journal Fiction Writers Review. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in magazines and quarterlies such as Ambit (London), Glimmer Train’s Writer’s Ask, Threepenny Review, and Slice. His journalism has garnered awards from the Maine and New England press associations. He was awarded the 2015 Marianne Russo Award for emerging authors from the Key West Literary Seminar.
Bodwell is the series editor of the three-volume collected short stories and novellas of Andre Dubus, released by David R. Godine, Publisher in 2018.
Bodwell is the co-founder of the community arts nonprofit Engine in Biddeford, where he lives today with Tammy Ackerman and his daughter, Elona. Visit his website to learn more about his work. Bodwell keeps track of his reading life with his annual reading list Bodwell’s Baker’s Dozen.
Email director [at] mainewriters.org
Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Associate Director
Gibson Fay-LeBlanc’s first collection of poems, Death of a Ventriloquist, was chosen by Lisa Russ Spaar for the Vassar Miller Prize and published in 2012. The book received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was featured by Poets & Writers as one of a dozen debut collections to watch. Gibson’s poems have appeared in magazines including Guernica, The New Republic, and Tin House, on the PBS NewsHour Art Beat, and recently in jubilat, Slice, FIELD, and The Literary Review. Excerpts from his novel-in-progress have appeared in Slice and Portland Magazine.
Fay-LeBlanc has taught writing at conferences, schools and universities around the country and including Columbia University, Haystack, and University of Southern Maine, and helped lead community arts organizations including The Telling Room, SPACE Gallery, and Hewnoaks Artist Colony.
Email fayleblanc [at] mainewriters.org
Hannah Perry, Program Director
Hannah began interning for the MWPA in 2011, became the Projects & Programs Coordinator in 2014, and is now the Programs Director. She serves as poet Richard Blanco’s assistant as well. She studied philosophy and fiction writing with Meg Wolitzer and Nellie Hermann at Barnard College, where she also wrote for the Columbia Daily Spectator. Between 2012 and 2014, she taught English at EFL schools in Peru and Chile, and taught herself Spanish. When not working, she writes poetry, sings and performs with intermittent all-ladies choir Altar Boys, and enjoys road trips of all lengths.
Email perry [at] mainewriters.org
Stephen E. Abbott, Special Projects
Stephen Abbott handles special project for the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, including Find Maine Writers. Stephen has worked as a writer, magazine editor, speaker, and communications professional for more than a decade. He also works in communications and education reform, and is the editor of the Glossary of Education Reform.
Email abbott [at] mainewriters.org
Photographs: Curt Richter (Bodwell); Molly Haley (Fay-LeBlanc); Michael Bowker (Abbott)