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Pascal Hall Author Series Kicks Off with Lauren Groff and Ted Widmer

Authors Guild Foundation logo in white on a medium blue background

ROCKPORT, ME – Pascal Hall, in partnership with the Authors Guild Foundation and Maine Media Workshops + College, is launching a free summer author series featuring live, in-depth discussions with award-winning writers. 

The series kicks off at Pascal Hall on Wednesday, July 27, at 5 p.m. with novelist Lauren Groff in conversation with Slate’s Laura Miller. It will continue on Tuesday, August 2, at 5 p.m., with American historian Ted Widmer in conversation with biographer Patricia O’Toole. During each event, there will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions. A reception and book signing follows each event at 6 p.m. The events are free, but space is limited so registration is required to attend. 

“We thought it would be great to host a summer author series here in Rockport for both locals and visitors interested in gaining insights from some of today’s finest novelists and nonfiction authors,” said Linda Lesher, owner of Pascal Hall and Barnswallow Books.

The Lesher family is dedicated to giving authors a platform for their work. Their Barn Talk events at Barnswallow Books have featured books on everything from hiking to baseball stadiums, from local artists and photographers to the 10th edition of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care. Through this new partnership with Maine Media Workshops + College and the Authors Guild Foundation, the family looks forward to continuing the tradition at Pascal Hall.

Lauren Groff is the author of six books of fiction, the most recent being the novel, Matrix (September 2021). Her work has won The Story Prize, the ABA Indies’ Choice Award, and France’s Grand Prix de l’Héroïne. She was a three-time finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, twice for the Kirkus Prize, and shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Prize, the Southern Book Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. Her work has been translated into more than 30 languages. A resident of Gainesville, Florida, Groff serves on the Council of the Authors Guild.

Laura Miller, books and culture columnist at Slate, and co-founder of, will guide the conversation. Miller’s work has appeared in the New YorkerHarper’s, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications, including the New York Times Book Review, where she wrote the Last Word column for two years. 

Ted Widmer, a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow and author of Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington, is a historian, writer, librarian and musician who previously served as a speechwriter to President Clinton. The first director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, he created the George Washington Book Prize, an annual award given to the best book on the Founding Fathers. In 2006, he served as Director and Librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, where he led efforts to digitize the library’s holdings, and raised funds to save Haitian libraries in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. Widmer subsequently served as a senior advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and spent five years helping to create “Disunion,” a digital history of the Civil War produced by the New York Times. Currently, Widmer is Director of the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and a Professor of Humanities at CUNY Macaulay Honors College in New York City.

Patricia O’Toole is the author of two biographies, When Trumpets Call, about Theodore Roosevelt, and The Five of Hearts, examining the life of Henry Adams. The Five of Hearts was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A former professor in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, she is a fellow of the Society of American Historians and a member of the Presidential Historical Commission at the New-York Historical Society. 

For more information, contact Lynn Boulger at 207-669-2566 or

About Pascal Hall
The owners of Pascal Hall are committed to creating intellectually stimulating and inclusive cultural events. Book lovers, they also own the Barnswallow Bookstore, which is a stone’s throw away from the Hall. Once a church, then an art gallery, the historic building has been gathering community for decades.  The new ownership plans to continue this tradition.

About the Authors Guild and Authors Guild Foundation
With more than 12,000 members, the Authors Guild is the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization for published writers. It advocates on behalf of working writers to protect free speech, freedom of expression and authors’ copyrights; fights for fair contracts and authors’ ability to earn a livable wage; and provides a welcoming community for writers and translators of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and journalism. Through its educational and charitable arm, the Authors Guild Foundation, it also offers free programming to teach working writers about the business of writing, as well as organizing public events that highlight the importance of a rich, diverse American literary culture and the authors that contribute to it. 

About Maine Media
Founded in 1973 as a summer school for photographers, Maine Media Workshops + College is a nonprofit institution offering certificate programs, workshops and master classes in the fields of photography, film, media art, printmaking, book arts and creative writing. Maine Media Workshops + College serves national and international students from its 20-acre campus in Rockport, Maine. The Writers Harbor at Maine Media is an innovative branch of the workshop, designed to inspire and teach writers who are motivated to learn about the craft of writing. The Writers Harbor seeks to create a community of writers who are dedicated to developing their own work in the genres of poetry, non-fiction, fiction and screenwriting.