- Massachusetts Probation Service
Media Contact for "Townie” author Andre Dubus III Visits Participants of Essex Superior Court’s Changing Lives Through Literature Program
Coria Holland, Communications Director
New York Times Best-Selling Author Andre Dubus III attended a meeting of the Essex Superior Court’s Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL) Program recently where he met probationers and justice-involved individuals who have been reading his book, “Townie: A Memoir,” which details the author’s childhood in Haverhill and his turbulent relationship with his father.
Essex Superior Court Probation Officers Maryanne Deschenes and Timothy Conlon facilitate the 12-week program and work with Salem State Professor of English Al DeCiccio who helped arrange Mr. Dubus’ visit. During the visit, the author discussed his book, shared his life story, and signed class members’ books. The eight CLTL participants, who range in age from 22 to 60, were excited to meet the author and hear his story first-hand. The CLTL Program meets weekly at Salem State’s Writing Center. Essex Superior Court Judges Salim Tabit and Kristin Buxton also participate in the group, according to Essex Superior Chief Probation Officer Jose Avila.
“This was the coolest thing ever. I loved it,” stated one participant who did not wish to be named.
Mr. Dubus reflected on his visit, which included dinner with participants, “It was a joy and an honor, and I was moved and impressed by all of them, especially their smart and sensitive comments, as well as their insightful questions.”
In addition to the book, “Townie,” participants have also read works by Jamaica Kincaid and Kate Chopin, short stories from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Robert Frost, and Charlotte Stetson, according to Probation Officer Deschenes.
The CLTL participants will celebrate the end of the program in a graduation ceremony on Wednesday, May 3, at Salem State where they will each be presented with certificates of completion and a book chosen by Professor DeCiccio.