Steelband Dance, book launch for the benefit of the literary festival

BLUE HILL – An upcoming street dance with a band of steel and the launch of Portland journalist and bestselling historian Colin Woodard’s paperback edition of his latest book, “Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood “, will raise funds for Word, Blue’s annual Hill Literary Arts Festival in October.

Shine! in the Pans steel band will host a dance from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, June 21 at Blue Hill Town Park. Donations at the door will be shared with Word.

At 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 24, Woodard will launch the paperback edition of “Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood” at the Bagaduce Music Lending Library on South Street. The book came out in hardcover a year ago. Sponsored by Blue Hill Books, proceeds from book sales will benefit Word.

While Woodard’s appearance is free and open to the public, space at the lending library is limited by COVID-19 restrictions. Those planning to attend should register in advance via or at 374-5632.

“Union” tells the story of the struggle to create a national myth for the United States, a myth that could hold together its rival regional cultures and forge an American nation. “Woodard turns visions of history into a sort of human drama,” the Washington Post wrote last year. “He writes with the rhythm and liveliness of a storyteller.

The author is best known for “American Nations,” a tale of the 11 unique “nations” that make up the United States, and “The Lobster Coast,” a history of Maine’s coastal communities. He is an award-winning reporter for the Portland Press Herald.

For 30 years, Flash! in the Pans performed outdoor steel band dances, with music ranging from calypso to classical swing to contemporary pop. This year’s group is a coalition of musicians from across the Blue Hill Peninsula, including high school students from Planet Pan and professional panelists from Atlantic Clarion.

Word returns live for its fifth annual festival October 21-24. Guests for the evening will be novelist Susan Choi, whose “Trust Exercise” won the 2019 National Book Award, and Phuc Tran, Portland-based author of the famous 2020 memoir “Sigh, Gone”. Tran will also teach a memory workshop. Other workshops will include songwriting (Noel Paul Stookey), poetry (Tim Seibles), children’s fiction (Anica Mrose Rissi), flash fiction (Lori Thatcher), book creation (Mia Bogyo) and “how to scare your reader” (Elizabeth Hand).

In collaboration with the New Surry Theater and the Blue Hill Historical Society and with funding from the Maine Bicentennial Commission, Word 2021 will present an original play by Bundy Boit based on the writings of Blue Hill-born Mary Ellen Chase. Panels on culinary writing and editing, as well as the popular Poetry Crawl and Word art exhibit, will round out the program.

Word is funded by the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation and the Maine Arts Commission, an independent public body supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other generous donors. Word’s media partner is WERU-FM. Its financial sponsor is Blue Hill Community Development.

Information: or 374-5632.

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