Please join us for Friday Nights at Westminster, a series of readings and concerts held at Westminster School during the 2022-2023 academic year on selected Friday nights, (occasionally on other nights of the week too).
The events begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to vaccinated members of the public with advance registration by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
with the number of people attending. Reservations may be made until the day before the event and space may be limited.
Events are held in either the Westminster Centennial Center or the Gund Reading Room of the school’s Armour Academic Center. We will let you know where each event will be held once the decision is made. Parking is available in the parking lot adjacent to Armour.
Friday, Oct. 7
Selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, Blanco joined the ranks of such luminary poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. The youngest, first Latino, immigrant and gay person to serve in such a role, he read his inaugural poem, “One Today,” at the ceremony.
Blanco describes himself as being made in Cuba, assembled in Spain and imported to the United States — meaning that his mother, seven months pregnant, and the rest of the family arrived as exiles from Cuba to Madrid, where he was born. Only 45 days later, the family immigrated once more and settled in Miami, where he was raised and educated. The negotiation of cultural identity and universal themes of place and belonging characterize his body of work.
Blanco is the author of the memoirs “The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood” and “For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey”; the poetry chapbooks “Matters of the Sea,” “One Today” and “Boston Strong”; the poetry collections “Looking for the Gulf Motel,” “Directions to the Beach of the Dead” and “City of a Hundred Fires”; and a children’s book of his inaugural poem, “One Today,” illustrated by Dav Pilkey.
“How to Love a Country,” his latest book of poems, explores immigration, gun violence, racism, LGBTQ issues and more, in accessible and emotive verses.
The recipient of numerous literary awards, he has written and performed occasional poems for organizations and events such as the re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, the Boston Strong Benefit Concert, Freedom to Marry, the Fragrance Awards and the Tech Awards in Silicon Valley.
Friday, Nov. 4
Wood’s newest novel will appear in 2023 from Mariner Books. Her most recent novel, “The One-in-a-Million Boy,” has been translated into 20 languages in over 30 countries. She is also the author of “When We Were the Kennedys,” a New England bestseller, Oprah magazine summer-reading pick, and winner of the May Sarton Memoir Award and the Maine Literary Award.
Her novel “Any Bitter Thing” was an American Booksellers Association bestseller and Book Sense Top Ten pick. Her nonfiction has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine; The New York Times; Martha Stewart Living; Parade and many other publications and her play, “Papermaker,” enjoyed an extended debut run at the Portland Stage Company in Portland, Maine.
Wood is a novelist, memoirist and playwright; the 2019 recipient of the Maine Humanities Council Carlson Prize for contributions to the public humanities; and a recipient of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Distinguished Achievement Award for contributions to the literary arts. She lives in Portland, Maine, with her husband, Dan Abbott and their cat, Susie.
Friday, Dec. 9
Phillips is the debut author of the internationally bestselling novel “Disappearing Earth,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award. A Fulbright fellow, essayist and short fiction writer, Julia has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Paris Review. She teaches at the Randolph College MFA program and is the founder of the online event series Lit Mixer.
Friday, Jan. 27
Adam White grew up in Damariscotta, Maine, and now lives with his wife and son in Boston, where he teaches writing and coaches lacrosse. He holds an MFA from Columbia University. “The Midcoast” is his first novel. It’s the story of a family of lobstermen who skyrocket from poverty to wealth, a local writer obsessed with their rise and the small-town secrets that bind them all together.
Friday, April 21
Qais Akbar Omar
Qais Akbar Omar (first name pronounced “Kice”) is the author of “A Fort of Nine Towers,” which has been published in more than 20 languages and the co-author of “A Night in the Emperor’s Garden,” which has been dramatized by BBC Radio. He has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The Sunday Times and The Globe and Mail, and he has published short stories in The Southern Review, AGNI, The Hopkins Review, Guernica and elsewhere. In 2014–15 Omar was a Scholars at Risk Fellow at Harvard University.
Omar was born in 1982 in Kabul, Afghanistan. He holds a bachelor’s in journalism from Kabul University. He studied business at Brandeis University and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University.
In Afghanistan, Omar worked as an interpreter for the U.S. military. He also worked for the United Nations. He comes from a family of carpet traders, and he served as a textiles specialist for U.S. Agency for International Development and the Asian Development Bank, helping carpet weavers across Afghanistan.
Tuesday, May 16
Westminster Artists Collective
(student and faculty writers and musicians)
The Michael Cervas Visiting Writers Program, which includes the Friday Nights at Westminster series, is supported by generous gifts from the Ford-Goldfarb English Department Enrichment Fund, the McKinley Fund, the Connell Music Fund, and the Friday Nights at Westminster Fund.