Author Monica Wood at Left Bank Books in Belfast Brenda Bonneville, editor April 7, 2017 (Belfast, ME) Internationally-acclaimed author Monica Wood will be at Left Bank Books in downtown Belfast on Friday, April 21 at 7:00 pm. She will give a talk on “The Writing Life: Roller Coaster and Merry Go Round,” and then sign copies of all her books, including the just-released paperback version of The One-in-a-Million Boy. The public is warmly invited to this free event. About Monica Wood and Her Work Wood, who was born in Mexico, Maine to a family of devout Irish Catholics, writes about the theme of family in all of her work. “If I have any obsession as a writer,” she has said, “it is the notion of the power of our ‘first’ family, the family into which we were born — that collection of people who accompanied us, for better or worse, through the process of learning how to find our way into the world…It is this family that must be alternately escaped from and returned to, over and over, in the family dance.” The One-in-a-Million Boy continues Wood’s theme of creating families from disparate parts. A reviewer in The Guardian wrote, “Wood’s exquisitely crafted prose radiates warmth, perception and insight, and her … characters are simultaneously sympathetic and flawed. It is testament to Wood’s empathetic storytelling that a novel replete with grief is nonetheless so heartwarming, funny and uplifting.” Wood finished writing Boy in 2008, and it was promptly rejected by her publisher. “I felt betrayed and devastated,” she said. “I licked my wounds for a few weeks and starting writing about home, which comforted me.” The result of that writing was her best-selling memoir, When We Were the Kennedys, which won the 2012 May Sarton Memoir Award and the 2013 Maine Literary Award for memoir. Even after the success of her memoir, Wood said that the rejected novel still “felt like poison,” so she wrote a play, The Papermaker. The play, which debuted at Portland Stage in 2016, played to sold-out houses during its seven-week run. Wood enjoyed the collaborative experience of producing a play so much that she is writing a second one. After The Papermaker closed, Wood’s husband took the abandoned manuscript of Boy and read it aloud to his wife over the course of several nights. She realized that it was a good novel and, after a few months of tweaking some of the characters, sent it to her agent on a Friday. On Monday, it was sold. The One -in-a-Million Boy has now been published in 18 foreign countries. And, looking back, maybe the long wait was worth it, Wood laughs: “For five years I called Boy ‘The Failed Novel.’ But if it hadn’t been rejected, I would have never written Kennedys or The Papermaker!” How to Reserve a Place to Hear Ms. Wood Although Wood’s talk is free, reservations are strongly encouraged. The shop has limited seating – please call 207-338-9009 or email [email protected] to reserve a seat. Left Bank Books is located in downtown Belfast at 109 Church Street, in the historic Opera House Block across the street from the Police Station. Ample parking is available in front of the shop and in an adjacent lot.