UMF announces Monica Wood, best-selling Maine author, as 2024 Commencement Speaker

UMF Commencement exercises take place Saturday, May 4, 2024

FARMINGTON, ME  (April 18, 2024)—The University of Maine at Farmington proudly announces best-selling Maine author, Monica Wood, as the Commencement speaker for the Class of 2024. She will also be the recipient of an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters at this year’s ceremony.

Monica Wood

Maine author Monica Wood

This year’s UMF Commencement exercises will take place in-person on Saturday, May 4, at 11 a.m., on the grounds of the  Narrow Gauge Outdoor Venue behind the Narrow Gauge Cinemas in downtown Farmington.

Monica Wood is an award-winning novelist, memoirist and playwright. Originally from Mexico, Maine, her writing tells character-driven stories about life-changing events. She was named the 2024 recipient of the Sarah Josepha Hale Award for excellence in the arts in New England. The Hale Award has been given to distinguished writers since 1956. Notable recipients include Robert Frost, Ogden Nash and Arthur Miller.

“We are delighted to honor Monica Wood at our 2024 graduation ceremony. Monica Wood is a native of western Maine, a first-generation college graduate, and an award-winning, internationally-recognized author and playwright. She is a role model for our graduates – many who come from a similar background and graduate from UMF with high aspirations,” said Joseph McDonnell, UMF president.

Wood was also awarded the 2019 Constance Carlson Prize for contributions to the public humanities in Maine and the 2018 Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Distinguished Achievement Award for her contributions to the literary arts.

Her newest novel, “How to Read a Book,” has already secured translation rights in five countries. Her previous novel, the bestselling, “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 and winner of the May Sarton Memoir Award. Her other fiction, “Any Bitter Thing,” “Ernie’s Ark,” and “My Only Story” have also won awards and made bestseller lists. Her short stories have been widely anthologized and featured on Public Radio International.

Her nonfiction and reviews have appeared in O, the New York Times, Literary Hub, Down East, the San Francisco Chronicle, Martha Stewart Living, Parade and many other publications.  

She has also written several books for aspiring writers and three plays including “The Half-Light,” “Saint Dad,” and “Papermaker,” that in 2015 debuted in an extended run at Maine’s Portland Stage. She lives in Portland with her husband, Dan Abbott, and their cat, Susie.

Additional Event Details

The UMF 2024 Commencement ceremony will be held off-campus on Saturday, May 4, at 11 a.m., at the outdoor Narrow Gauge Amphitheater behind Narrow Gauge Cinemas in downtown Farmington. No tickets are required for the outdoor ceremony. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at 11 a.m., in the Fitness and Recreation Center on the UMF campus. Tickets are distributed to students for their guests and will be required if the ceremony is indoors in the Fitness and Recreation Center.

Additional information and updates can be found at:

More on University of Maine at Farmington

A nationally recognized public liberal arts college known for its commitment to the creative arts, teacher preparation, the health arts and sciences, the environment, business and public service, UMF provides a challenging yet supportive environment to prepare students for both careers and further study. Located in the heart of Maine’s four-season outdoor recreational region, UMF is a welcoming, close-knit academic community that prepares students for enriching professional careers, engaged citizenship and an enduring love of learning.

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Photo Caption: Maine author Monica Wood
Photo Credit: Submitted Image

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