a Deep dive into one incredible book

Readers Retreat is an annual event centered around MHC’s featured book. Every year, a committee of Maine readers and thinkers selects a book ballot, community members cast their vote, and the winning book is featured across our programming and explored together at Readers Retreat.

May 19-20, 2023

Southern Maine Community College

Tickets available April 2023

2022 Speakers

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Maine State Poet Laureate

Raise-OP Housing Cooperative

Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition

Lewiston Public Schools

Master Drummer

Executive Director, H.O.M.E, Inc.

George Lincoln Skolfield, Jr. Professor of Religion, Bowdoin College

Professor of History, University of New England

Professor of Literature, University of Maine-Farmington

Coordinator, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition

What if we knew and shared more about shellfish reproduction, with less concern for money?

Founder and Director, Franco-American Women’s Institute

What if we could all really see who we are?

20th and 21st century African American Literature

Historian, Educator

President, Board of Directors Abyssinian Meeting House

Founder and Director, Atlantic Black Box

Assistant Professor, School of Legal Studies, Husson University

Writer, Educator

Staff Writer, Sun Journal

Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education, University of Southern Maine

Professor of History, University of Maine

Assistant Professor, Teacher Education University of Southern Maine

Poet, Writer, Organizer

Scholar of Cultural Narratives

Historian, scholar, independent museum professional

Assistant Professor of Media Studies, University of Maine

Associate Professor of Africana Studies

Storyteller and oral historian

Professor of Political Science, University of Maine at Farmington

Poet, Writer, Archivist

Community Support Coordinator, Lewiston Public Schools

Associate Professor, Professional Communication and Journalism

What if there were no gender?

Associate Professor of East Asian Studies, Colby College

Professor in Philosophy, Social Theory, and Peace Studies, College of the Atlantic

ETEP Coordinator, University of Southern Maine

Chair, Native American Programs and Director of Native American Research, University of Maine

Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Maine College of Art

Executive Director, Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

Writer, Veteran

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Education, Bowdoin College

Occupational Therapist, Writer, Teacher

Cultural Historian, Penobscot Nation

Journalist, Historian

Octavia E. Butler’s life and work

Speculative fiction and multimedia installation art

Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Colby College

Independent Historian

Assistant Professor of Arts and Sciences, Maine Maritime Academy

Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Maine

Educator, Community Interpreter

No Speaker for this Selection


available April 2023

Community Price


We recommend this price for those who struggle to meet basic needs and have no expendable income. If the community price is prohibitive, please be in touch with Jan Bindas-Tenney.

Middle Price


We recommend this price for those who are able to meet basic needs and have expendable income.

True Cost


We recommend this price for those who comfortably meet their basic needs and have ample expendable income.

Financial Partnership


Help fund this event! Your gracious additional donation will register you for the event and help us offer (more) accessible participation to everyone and fund associated programming.

Ballot Selection Committee

Dr. Lori Banks (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Biology and a member of the Africana program committee at Bates College. She holds a B.S. in Biology (Chemistry minor) from Prairie View A&M University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Virology and Microbiology from Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Banks’ scientific research has focused on drug discovery-related protein structure-function studies from a range of bacterial, viral, and cancer targets. Her current grant-funded research is focused on the development of novel antiviral compounds for the treatment of early childhood rotavirus infections. 

Ayesha Hall (she/her) is currently serving as the District Social Emotional Learning and Equity Resource Coordinator for Lewiston Public Schools, Vice President of the Board of YWCA of Central Maine, and acts as a lead contributor to several local initiatives such as L/A Working Communities Challenge core Leader, L/A City Spirit Council’s Leadership Committee, and former chairwoman of the 2020 Mayoral Ad Hoc Committee on equity & diversity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and achieved a Master of Science in School Psychology while assisting and directing youth programs in the nonprofit sector of New York City. Ayesha lives in Auburn Maine with her husband Coach Malik Hall, her son Malik Jr. and daughters Kayah and Asha.

Spencer Traylor (he/him) is a co-founder and social studies teacher at the Next STEP Program of Lewiston High School and serves on the board of directors for Maine Youth Led Justice. He was born in Yorba Linda, CA but has been living in Maine since he moved to the town of Brownville in 2005. Spencer graduated from Colby College with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Middle Eastern Studies and has been living and working in Lewiston ever since. When he’s not nerding out about fantastical Black folks doing magic, he can be found relaxing with his cat Pumpkin.   

past Books

Wild Seed

Octavia E. Butler

Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe


Toni Morrison


Joseph Conrad

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