Kerri Arsenault grew up in Mexico, Maine, a town that for a century was supported by a paper mill. She will discuss her book "Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains," a personal story, in a Zoom talk from the Cushing Public Library on Wednesday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. To register for the free talk, call Wendy Roberts at 207-691-0833 or email

"Mill Town" is both an atmospheric memoir of a happy childhood and a searing exposé of the dire effects the mill’s toxic legacy had on the town’s residents. Through her story of one working-class family in one working town, she offers a bigger American story that is historically analytical and timely. Her description of the mill’s departure presents a potent glimpse of how corporate power, small town pride and death are entwined in America.

Best-selling Maine author Gerry Boyle has chosen "Mill Town" as one of two books for the Maine Humanities Council’s Read Me program this summer. It has been enthusiastically reviewed and is on many editor’s choices and top-ten lists of the year, including National Book Critics finalist for the Leonard Prize, best first book in any genre, 2020. Acclaimed nature writer Robert Macfarlane called it “the book of a lifetime,… that will stay with me for years.” Richard Russo, author of "Empire Falls," describes the “devil’s bargain” between prosperity and “a filthy, dangerous industry.” Arsenault has recently been named a finalist for the Maine Literary Awards.

Arsenault is book critic/book editor at Orion magazine and contributing editor of The Literary Hub, and her work has appeared in numerous other journals. She has served as a mentor for Pen America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program, among many activities.