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January 14 @ 8:00 pm
A moving chronicle of struggle, transformation, and who belongs in America
The once-thriving city of Lewiston had fallen on hard times–mills closed, jobs gone. It was mostly white, and the young were leaving. Then thousands of African Muslim immigrants came to town.
Over the past 15 years, Lewiston, Maine has improbably become one of the most Muslim towns in America. About 6,000 of the city’s 36,000 inhabitants are African refugees and asylum seekers, many of them Somali. Cynthia Anderson tells the story of this fractious yet resilient mill town near where she grew up, offering the unfolding drama of a community’s reinvention–and humanizing some of the defining political issues in America today.
In Lewiston, progress is real but precarious. Anderson takes the reader deep into the lives of both immigrants and lifelong Mainers: a single Muslim mom, an anti-Islamist activist, a Congolese asylum seeker, a Somali community leader. Their lives unfold in these pages as anti-immigrant sentiment rises across the US and national realities collide with those in Lewiston. Home Now gives a poignant account of America’s evolving relationship with religion and race, and provides a sensitive refutation of the idea that we’d be better off without change.
About the author:
Cynthia Anderson grew up in western Maine. She’s worked as a pipefitter’s helper, computer programmer, and journalist. Her collection of stories, River Talk, was a Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014 and received the 2014 New England Book Festival award for short stories. Other work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Boston Magazine, the Miami Herald, the Iowa Review, Redbook, Huffington Post, and others. Anderson lives with her family in Maine and Massachusetts. She teaches writing at Boston University.