OVERVIEW: Maine Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Activities

Presented by:
Maine Humanities Council
Current Initiative: Centennial Campfires National Partner: The Pulitzer Prizes Local Partner: K-12 Institutions, Libraries, Other Subject: History, Journalism, Poetry, Varies Audience: All, Children and Families, Colleges and Universities, Educators, K-12, Rural Communities, Young Adult, Youth/Teen

The Maine Humanities Council issued over 10 special grants ranging from $1,000 to $4,600 for Maine-based organizations seeking to use Pulitzer Prize-winning writing, journalism, photography, drama, or music composition in their 2016 programming. The activities carried out by grantees reached over 6,000 people. Check out the events that took place all across the state:

BANGOR HIGH SCHOOL WORLD GEOGRAPHY SYMPOSIUM (Bangor High School)

Held to create a forum for the exchange of ideas on geographic issues and challenges both within the state of Maine and across the world, the World Geography Symposium featured Pulitzer Prize winning crisis report Larry Price who shared his photojournalism/research on the refugee crisis, child labor, and pollution with students as they studied key geographic themes, films, and photography.

BAR HARBOR: BIRTHPLACE OF THE PULITZER PRIZE (Jesup Memorial Library)

Pulitzer biographer James McGrath Morris and author and journalist Roy Harris gathered for a moderated discussion in the birthplace of the Pulitzer Prize, Bar Harbor. In the last years of his life, Joseph Pulitzer spent his time at his Bar Harbor estate where it is believed he came up with the idea for the prize. McGrath Morris’ Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print and Power is considered the authoritative biography of Pulitzer and Harris’ Pulitzer’s Gold is an in-depth look at the prize and the journalists who have won it over the past 100 years.

EDITORIAL CARTOONS: INSIGHT OR INSULT? (Merrill Memorial Library, Portland Public Library)

Adam Zyglis, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, presented two lectures on the topic. Zyglis also visited Yarmouth High School to talk with students about the issues in editorial cartooning. A display of his cartoons was also available at the Merrill Memorial Library and Portland Public Library for two weeks surrounding the event. This event was co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, Yarmouth Public Schools and Portland Public Library.

HIS STORY, HER STORY, OUR STORY: MAKING A MEANING OF YOUR COLLECTIONS (The Association of Maine Archives and Museums)

The Association of Maine Archives and Museums hosted keynote speaker Laurel Thatcher Ulrich at their annual conference “His Story, Her Story, Our Story: Making Meaning of Your Collections” in October 2016. Ulrich is a Pulitzer Prize winner for her groundbreaking work A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary 1785-1812.

HOLDING POWER ACCOUNTABLE: INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM AND DEMOCRACY (University of Southern Maine)

A workshop and talk conducted by Pulitzer Prize winner Ralph Blumenthal, former New York Times journalist, who addressed the need for investigative journalism and the obstacles it faces. The workshop portion complemented the talk and focused on helping community journalists, both professionals and students, develop a working knowledge of investigative practices, techniques, and tools.

THE HUMAN IN THE HUMANITIES: HOW PULITZER-WINNING PHOTOGRAPHY ENGAGES AND INFORMS DISCUSSION FOR ALL AGES (Orono High School)

Through engagement with the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Larry Price, collaborating students and faculty of Orono High School and the University of Maine, as well as members of the community, were able to enter into a participatory exploration of issues in the contemporary world. Price’s photographic texts initiated inquiry into current events that the humanities are uniquely equipped to explore.

THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL PASSION (Figures of Speech Theatre)

This project was a theatrical setting of the Little Match Girl Passion, David Lang’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work for four singers, in which Lang interweaves text from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with text from Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Little Match Girl. The performance surrounded those singers with Bunraku-style puppets, masked dance, and projected shadows and film in a wordless tapestry of images that extend and deepen Lang’s synthesis of Bach and Andersen.

NO LAUGHING MATTER: THE PULITZER PRIZE AND THE ART OF POLITICAL CARTOONING (Auburn Public Library)

A month-long symposium that examined editorial cartooning in the greater Auburn-Lewiston community and featured two award-winning cartoonists and the Director of Maine Archives and Museums, a cartooning workshop by a cartoonist from the Boston Globe, and an exhibit of Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoons from years past.

PROMOTING INTERNATIONAL UNDERSTANDING (Kennebunk High School)

In collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Kennebunk High School, brought two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Larry Price for two full days of class engagements and an evening public forum. Price’s work documenting child labor in East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and his related project examining the public health effects of pollution, connected deeply with learning goals identified by the high school.

PULITZER WEEK (Bangor Public Library)

Pulitzer Week brought three Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists; Kathleen Kingsbury, Boston Globe, Jim Sheeler, Case Western University, and Amy Ellis Nutt, Washington Post, to the Bangor-Orono area to share their experiences and to discuss the importance of journalistic excellence with the public and with University of Maine students.

VOICES OF THE KENNEBEC (Gardiner Public Library)

This program highlighted the local and regional Pulitzer Prize-winning and aspiring authors whose work was and still is inspired by place, community, and local or family history. The library hosted author readings and book discussions of local Pulitzer Prize winners (Edwin Arlington Robinson, Laura E. Richards, and Robert P. Tristram Coffin), an exhibit featuring memorabilia from those winners, and a creative writing workshop to stimulate new works influenced by place.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM HEMINGWAY’S BLUE MARLIN? (L.C. Bates Museum)

This program explored Pulitzer Prize-winner Ernest Hemingway’s book The Old Man and the Sea and the museum’s blue marlin caught by Hemingway to provide engaging learning activities for community, student, family, and adult audiences. A public talk, a student informal meeting, and a staff and docent training workshop was presented by Hemingway scholar Dr. Susan F. Beegel.

PULITZER PRIZE FILM SERIES (Witherle Memorial Library)

The Witherle Memorial Library showed seven movies based on Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, including 1934’s This is Our Life starring Bette Davis and George Brent, All the President’s Men with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, and the 1985 film The Color Purple starring Oprah Winfrey and Whoopie Goldberg.

MAJOR PARTNERSHIPS:

  • American Civil Liberties Union of Maine
  • Yarmouth Public Schools
  • Portland Public Library

PULITZER PRIZE PARTICIPANTS:

  • Larry Price, Photography (1985, 1981)
  • Adam Zyglis, Editorial Cartooning (
  • Laurel Thatcher Ulrich,
  • Ralph Blumenthal, Investigative Reporting (
  • Kathleen Kingsbury, Editorial Writing (2015)
  • Amy Ellis Nutt, Feature Writing (2011)
  • Jim Sheeler, Feature Writing (2006)

PROGRAM & EVENT LOCATIONS:

  • Hinckley, ME
  • Gardiner, ME
  • Bangor, ME
  • Kennebunk, ME
  • Auburn, ME
  • Freeport, ME
  • Orono, ME
  • Portland, ME
  • Yarmouth, ME
  • Bar Harbor, ME

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