Author Talk: Phuc Tran

Meet Phuc Tran—Author, Educator, Classicist, and Tattooer. His memoir, Sigh, Gone, won the 2021 Maine Literary Award for biography/memoir. We wouldn’t be spoiling anything to tell you that Phuc was born in Sài Gòn Việt Nam, his family fled for the US in 1975, and he grew up in Carlisle, PA. His book’s subtitle, A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In, sums up the story that follows. By the way, he pronounces his first name like Luke.

Listen to Phuc read selections from his memoir at a live Zoom event, Wednesday, December 1, 5:30-6:30pm. He will answer readers’ questions, and while he hasn’t yet figured out a way to sign books on Zoom, you can buy a signed copy of Sigh, Gone at Print Bookstore.

Register below to receive a Zoom link to the event.

Rainbow Circle

SPL kicks off a monthly meetup for LGBTQ+ islanders and their allies. We will meet on the third Saturday of every month to give people a time and place to come together. For our first activity, we will meet at the library on Saturday, November 20 at 12 noon and head out for a stroll. Come early and grab a cup of tea to keep warm. No required reading, just open conversation. Join friends new and old.

No registration required.

The Empathy Effect

In a time of great division and anger nationwide, how do we go about changing hearts and minds when it comes to issues like LGBTQ+ rights?  In a 40 minute presentation followed by Q+A discussion, Maine politician, author and civil rights advocate Marpheen Chann shares his personal story of growing up in Maine, coming out to his religious adoptive family, and the lessons he’s learned about how change can happen. 
This program is provided in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council Maine Speaks program. 
Marpheen Chann is the author of an upcoming memoir titled Moon in Full: A Modern Coming-of-Age Story (Islandport Press, June 2022). A Maine politician, activist, writer, speaker, community organizer, and gay man of color, he helped found the Cambodian Community Association of Maine in 2018, and serves as its president. In 2014, Chann became the first of his biological or adoptive families to graduate college, studying political science, philosophy, and economics at the University of Southern Maine, where he helped start the University of Southern Maine’s Queer Straight Alliance. He later earned a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law. Chann has devoted his career to civil rights and advancing diversity, inclusion, and equity in education, politics, and municipal government. His service to Portland and the Cambodian community is his way of giving back and connecting to his roots. Marpheen lives in Portland and he hopes to someday foster and adopt his own children. Until then, he’s content being an uncle to upwards of ten nieces and nephews (including dogs and cats). 

CANCELED: Fruit Exploring: The Art of Tracking Down Old Apple Varieties

This event will be rescheduled for a later date. Send an email to to be added to the event mailing list. We will send out details as soon as they are confirmed.

We all know that old apple tree off by the corner of the barn or in someone’s field. It’s old, and the big question is whether or not it’s one of the historically significant old trees apple detectives have been hunting down for decades. But how do you know? We will learn the art of observing trees, their context,  and other clues to help participants understand what they are seeing. Since Maine has millions of seedling apple trees planted by deer, cows, squirrels and bears, it is critical to develop a discerning eye to separate those from the old historic varieties.

In a half-day workshop, Todd Little-Siebold will help you know what you are seeing when you look at an old tree. Is it a grafted tree? Has it been cultivated?  What is the context it is growing in? And who on earth planted it? These are the kinds of questions we will explore in the workshop. Todd is a professor of history  at College of the Atlantic, and he serves on the MOFGA board of directors. He is involved in the Maine Heritage Orchard in Unity, and he has worked closely with John Bunker to track down, identify, and preserve local heirloom varieties.

Consider the Apple with John Bunker

Consider the apple. That’s precisely what John Bunker has done for over four decades, accumulating an encyclopedic knowledge of heritage apple tree varieties. Island Heritage Trust and Stonington Public Library in collaboration with Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society and Healthy Island Project are thrilled to co-host an afternoon with John Bunker on Saturday, September 11 from 2-4pm. The event will take place outdoors at IHT, 420 Sunset Road, Deer Isle. John Bunker will speak on the art of apple detection followed by a book signing and apple identification, plus other apple activities for all ages.

Bunker’s name will be familiar to many on our island, but even those who don’t know him by name have likely seen or heard him in his tireless work advocating for the preservation of our shared delicious history. John is also a staple at the Common Ground Country Fair, and many make the pilgrimage with an apple in hand for John to consider. In 1984, John created the Fedco Trees catalog as a way to keep a written record and to share the fruits of his labor with more and more people. Thirty years later, John led the way again when the first trees were planted in the Maine Heritage Orchard on Earth Day, where there are now over 300 varieties of pear and apple trees. To complete an abbreviated list of his accomplishments, John has also published two books: Not Far From the Tree: A Brief History of the Apples and the Orchards of Palermo, Maine, 1804-2004 and, most recently in 2019, Apples and the Art of Detection.

He’s forgotten more about apples than most of us will ever know. His monikers include an official title, Apple Whisperer, designated by Governor Mills and simply Apple Guy to friends. In media profiles state and nationwide, John has let it be known that he’s not an orchardist. Rather, he’s a self-taught explorer, not unlike John Muir, whose subject is that most famous of American fruits: the apple. In his quiet spoken approach, John has pioneered a field where there was none before. He’s the go-to guy, which is to say expert, for finding, identifying, and preserving heritage apple tree varieties dating back to the early 1800s.

Come bearing fruit from your funky old trees for John to identify. The funkier the tree, the better (bring fresh fruit). You may have an as-yet unidentified heritage apple tree variety hidden on your property. Registration is not required but highly recommended in order to receive any event updates. You can register below or call 367-5926.

Labor Day Raffle

The Stonington Public Library director, Christopher Ross, and members of the library board will draw the winning tickets for all raffle prizes live on Zoom. You don’t have to be there to win, but admit it: it’s even more fun to win live! The winning numbers will be posted online after the drawing concludes. Winning ticket holders will be responsible for claiming any prize(s).

Alfresco Authors: Poetry Reading with Joe Coomer

Joe published his first volume of poetry, Other Lives, back in 2017. He admitted then that “the older I got, the more I was tending toward poetry.” He previously published eight novels and two works of non-fiction. The library’s book club is reading and discussing Joe’s seventh novel, One Vacant Chair, for its August pick in a yearlong exploration of Maine authors. Sailing in a Spoonful of Water recounts his time spent restoring and traveling the coast of Maine aboard his vintage sailboat, Yonder. Poetry, on the other hand, frees Joe from story and character development and offers him “immediate gratification.” Poetry is improvisation that follows the mind wherever it wishes to go. 

The Stonington Public Library is thrilled to host Joe Coomer in our Alfresco Authors series. Bring a bite to eat and a chair down to Small Cove Park, and join us for a chance to listen to Joe read his poetry, answer readers questions, and sign books. Some of his books will be available for sale.

Alfresco Authors: Didn’t Do Much But a Little of Everything: The 1897 Eagle Island Diary of Dalton Raynes

Due to the weather forecast, we have made the tough decision to postpone Ian’s talk until Thursday, August 26 (originally August 19). It is tentatively scheduled to take place from 5-6pm in Small Cove Park. Any changes to the event will be posted here; registrants will be notified by phone and/or email.

Entranced by the poetic compression of Dalton Raynes’s work-log, Ian Ludders set about researching and annotating the text through both oral and written records, and discovering a story within, he decided to self-publish Raynes’s diary alongside his annotations, newspaper clippings, and photographs. Ian first met Dalton in the pages of Paul Molyneaux’s The Doryman’s Reflection: A Fisherman’s Life, and a glimpse of his houseboat-scow on Penobscot Bay with salted cod drying on its roof left him wanting to know more. Ian finds himself thinking a lot about local history, our proximity to those who lived here before us, and the unknowability of their lives operating in a different economic space. Ian is connected to a couple hundred years of continuous family-island memory in the person of Bob Quinn, his captain.

The Stonington Public Library is thrilled to host Ian Ludders in our Alfresco Authors series. Bring a bite to eat and a chair down to Small Cove Park, and join us for some local history and island lore. Didn’t Do Much But a Little of Everything will be available for purchase. The book is also available at

Summer Reading Celebration & Spooky Story Time

Anica Mrose Rissi used to play her violin on the Stonington Public Library porch to passersby in the summer. Now she returns to the island each summer and reads to audiences from her newest book! This year she joins the Stonington Public Library to celebrate summer reading and to share a spooky story or two from her new collection, Hide and Don’t Seek: And Other Very Scary Stories. Her other titles include the popular Anna, Banana series and the Maine Literary Award winning picture book Love, Sophia on the Moon. 

All ages, all readers are welcome to join our free summer reading celebration! There will be snacks and beverages. Plus, the chance to win prizes for reading books. Besides, who doesn’t love a spooky story? Just use your imagination and pretend we’re all sitting around a campfire. Participants are welcome to bring their own food and drink, and it never hurt to carry along some sunscreen and bug spray. See you there for one spooky celebration!

AARP Maine Town Hall featuring Rep. Genevieve McDonald

AARP Maine didn’t let the pandemic slow down their advocacy on behalf of the state’s 50+ population. How the work got done necessarily changed, but the drive to make a positive difference did not. AARP Maine along with featured guest Rep. Genevieve McDonald want to tell you more about this year’s wins and losses and what might be on the agenda for 2022. Community outreach is the keystone of their success, and they want to hear what weighs on your mind today. How did the pandemic reshape the issues that matter to you and especially your older family and friends? What are your goals for 2021-2022 and beyond? And how can AARP Maine and Rep. Genevieve McDonald work on your behalf? 

Join the conversation on Monday, August 9 from 10-11am on Zoom. Due to the ongoing pandemic, AARP Main policy still requires that all meetings take place virtually. Come prepared to share the one issue that matters most to our community members 50+ living here on the island. 

Register below with a valid email address to receive the Zoom invitation in an automated confirmation email. You can alternatively contact the Stonington Public Library at 367-5926 or