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Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault's own family. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for that seemingly secure childhood. The mill, while providing livelihoods for nearly everyone, also contributed to the destruction of the environment and the decline of the town's economic, moral, and emotional health in a slow-moving catastrophe, earning the area the nickname "Cancer Valley." In Mill Town, Arsenault undertakes an excavation of a collective past, sifting through historical archives and scientific reports, talking to family and neighbors, and examining her own childhood to present a portrait of a community that illuminates not only the ruin of her hometown and the collapse of the working-class of America, but also the hazards of both living in and leaving home, and the silences we are all afraid to violate.

About the Author

Kerri Arsenault

I am the book review editor for Orion magazine, contributing editor at Lithub.com, and teach nonfiction in The Master of Arts program in Writing and Oral Traditions at the Graduate Institute in Bethany, CT.I received my MFA in creative writing from The New School and previously studied in the Master Programme in communication for development, Malmo University, Sweden, an interdisciplinary program analyzing the interplay between politics, media, information and communication technology, international development, diversity, conflict resolution, and theories of social change within the context of globalization. I have a B.A. in creative writing and English literature from Beloit College. Events and more information can be found on my website, www.kerri-arsenault.comHeadshot by Erik Madigan Heck

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