Nell Curley

‘Sparks’ from the past

Don McLean offers tribute to his mother’s writing

Don McLean has just published his first novel, but the stories and poems in it are not his own.

They were written by his mother, Jean Stewart McLean, and have never been published until now.

McLean decided to compile her work, with the hopes of publishing some of it, after her death in 1963.

“I inherited all of her manuscripts, most of which are typewritten. And I felt bad that she'd never gotten anything published. She'd sort of given up in her later years, not actually bothering to write. But my image of her is that she would sit in her typewriter and churn out this stuff.

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Full steampunk ahead

Newfane author Bruce Hesselbach pens ’‘Perpetual Motion,’ a pre-World War I romance novel

Vermont attorney Bruce Hesselbach's latest novel, “Perpetual Motion,” is a pre-WWI steampunk romance involving time travel, dirigible chases, appearances by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Richard Wagner, and gun battles. Hesselbach, who has been writing fiction since college, won his first prize for a story in 1975 and has written...

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A feast of laughter

Rebecca Coffey’s “Nietzche’s Angel Food Cake’ combines cooking, literary humor, and assorted silliness

Those familiar with humor website Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency ( might recognize the familiar “list” theme of Rebecca Coffey's new book, Nietzsche's Angel Food Cake … and Other “Recipes” For the Intellectually Famished. “Dorothy's Parker House Rolls: A Jazz Age Recipe” builds up to ask, “What is worse than...

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Historical novel images a ‘murky and fascinating’ history

There are stories throughout American history of early settlers' children being abducted and raised among Native tribes for the rest of their lives. However, some stories are less well-known than others. Stuart Strothman's recently published historical novel Sackett tells a lesser-known story of Elizabeth Sackett, a Puritan child abducted at age 5 from Westfield, Mass., and raised among Abenaki Indians. She later married an Abenaki, and their son - known as Sackett - grew up to play a significant role...

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A message of hope

Publishing a book is no easy task, and one that is autobiographical can be even more difficult. For Judith Dickerman-Nelson, the challenge was deciding how to tell the story of her unplanned pregnancy at age 17. Over the years, she kept revisiting this experience and struggled with how to tell the story. “I was a teen mom, and I was a writer already,” said Dickerman-Nelson. “I'd always been writing stories and poems. I kept a journal during that time about...

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Coming home

David Chase began his writing career as a columnist for the Brattleboro Reformer in the 1980s, and he self-published his columns as a book, A Peasant of West Brattleboro, in 1987. Now, 25 years later, Chase, a native of Brattleboro who now lives in Keene, N.H. with his wife, Susan Lane Shaw, has published Grants Ferry, a novel about Kenneth Forbes, a man who returns to his hometown 30 years after he ran away. Forbes must deal with the vindictive...

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A patient’s royal aim

Based on the true story of Anna Lappalainen, a Finnish woman who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and believed she was a member of the British Royal Family, Princessa elegantly and unflinchingly examines her nine-year stay at the Kellokoski Psychiatric Hospital from 1945 to 1954, and focuses on the effect her behavior and mannerisms had on both the staff and her fellow patients. “My royal aim is to help those in need,” she says. With this philosophy, Anna, a...

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Writer/musician/performer Seth Lepore and actor/hip-hop artist Collin Clay Chace each have a history of performing one-man shows. Now for the first time, they have decided to merge their shows as a double-act, “The Double Trouble Tour,” which will come to the Hooker-Dunham Theater in Brattleboro in early April. Lepore and Chace have been friends since high school, where both discovered their talents for performing. “Collin and I went to School One, an alternative high school in Providence, R.I., together,” Lepore...

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