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Colby-Sawyer College to Host Reading by Creative Non-Fiction Writer Jane Brox from her Books on the American Family Farm

NEW LONDON, N.H., Oct. 10, 2007 — Colby-Sawyer College's Humanities Department will present a reading by creative non-fiction writer Jane Brox as part of its Word by Word series.

The presentation will begin Monday, Oct. 29, at 4 p.m. in the Archives Reading Room of the Susan Colgate Cleveland Library/Learning Center. Community members are invited to attend, and admission is free.

Brox's writing examines the plight of small farms in the United States. She grew up on a farm in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts and based her first book, Here and Nowhere Else: Late Seasons of a Farm and Its Family, on her experience of leaving the farm and returning years later to care for her ailing parents and the old farmhouse. Here and Nowhere Else won the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award.

Her second book, Five Thousand Days Like This One, was a 1999 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction and explores the history of the area surrounding her family's farm.

“Brox delicately interweaves the voices of her late father, Henry David Thoreau and immigrant mill workers in the early 20th century in this elegant meditation on life in the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts,” says a Publisher's Weekly review.

The book traces the history of Merrimack Valley, from the time the Pawtucket Indians were wiped out by European diseases to the old textile mills that now house computer industries and synthetic textile trades.

Brox's most recent book, Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm, explores the role of the family farm in the American consciousness. She reflects on the potential impact of modern politics on the future of small farms, and on her own reasons for returning to her family homestead.

“In America, not only do individual dreams have their origins in farming, the notion of the Republic is stowed there as well,” she writes.

In examining the larger issues of cultivation in this country, Brox moves between her recollections of farm life and historical evidence from several sources. She looks at how farming has shaped American culture, and how in recent years high taxes have caused farmers to struggle just to keep their farms operating.

Brox's essays have appeared in The Georgia Review and other journals and magazines, and have been included in many anthologies, including Best American Essays, The Norton Book of Nature Writing, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology.

A resident of Brunswick, Maine, she has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and in 2005, she won the New England Book Award for Non-Fiction. This past spring she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in support of her current writing project. She teaches nonfiction writing in the MFA program at Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass.

Brox graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, in 1978 with a major in English literature, and cites Henry David Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers as an important influence while writing Five Thousand Days Like This One.

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-Marc LeBourdais

Marc LeBourdais is an English major and currently works as an intern in College Communications at Colby-Sawyer College.

Colby-Sawyer, founded in 1837, is a comprehensive liberal arts college located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Students from 25 states and five foreign countries learn in small classes through a select array of programs that integrate the liberal arts and sciences with pre-professional experience. Visit us on the World Wide Web at

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