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Maine Women Writers Collection

Carolyn Chute Collection, 1984-2002

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Volume: .5 linear feetchute2

Organization/Arrangement: Organized as a single series.

Biographical Note: Carolyn Chute was born Carolyn Penny in Portland, Maine in 1947. At the age of sixteen, Chute dropped out of high school and married almost immediately. The couple had a daughter named Johanna, and then divorced, leaving Chute to support her child by working several odd jobs, which included driving a school bus, waitress, and potato farm worker. After marrying her current husband, Michael Chute, in 1978, Chute completed her high school education and took classes at the University of Maine. She started to write stories while attending a writing workshop at the university, and her work was published in magazines such as Grand Street and Ploughshares. She was also a part-time suburban correspondent for the Portland Evening Express.

During this time she started work on her most well known novel, The Beans of Egypt, Maine (1985). The novel was well received, becoming a bestselling and critically acclaimed book. Her novel gave Maine its most prominent position in the literary world at the time. Chute’s graphic, bold, and unflinchingly honest portrayal of rural life has not had many counterparts in recent decades, especially not among women writers. Her other novels include Letourneau’s Used Auto Parts (1988), Merry Men (1994), and Snow Man (1999). Recently she has become the leader of a non-partisan group of Maine citizens known as the Second Maine Militia. She also publishes The Fringe, a monthly collection of in-depth political journalism, short stories, and intellectual commentary on current events. She currently resides in Parsonsfield, Maine.

Description: This collection consists almost entirely of newspaper and magazine interviews with the author and reviews of her publications. The material reveals a great deal about her personal life and how it influences her writing. There is also information about her involvement in the 2nd Maine Militia which she founded in 1995, premised on the negative aspects of the influences of corporations on the working class. Also in the collection is an audiotape of Chute's speech at the University of Hartford in 1986 and ephemera relating to a 1989 Stonecoast Writers' Conference.

Access Restrictions: None

Please cite as: Carolyn Chute Collection, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Portland, Maine

Container List:
001.  Interviews, reviews 1984
002.  Interviews, reviews 1985
003.  Interviews, reviews "Stepping into the Light" 1985
004.  Interviews, reviews "Small Town, Big Time" 1985
005.  Interviews, reviews 1986-1989
006.  Interviews, reviews 1990-
007.  Interviews, reviews 1995-1996
007a.  Interviews, reviews 2000-
008.  Interviews, reviews n.d.
009.  Publisher's press release The Beans of Egypt, Maine
010.  Invitation to Maine release of film The Beans of Egypt, Maine, 1994
011.  Stonecoast Writers' Conference 1985
012.  "Cuba's Continuing Struggle" dedicated to Carolyn Chute 2002
013.  Correspondence, Chute to Cally Gurley 2001-2002

Watch an MPBN "A Good Read" interview by Sandy Phippen with Carolyn Chute.

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