Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Chute, Carolyn

(1947?- ) (pronounced CHOOT) is a Maine author best known for her Beans of Egypt, Maine which conveys the hard life of the state’s rural poverty.  She was born Carolyn Penny in Portland.

She grew up in the rural Pond Cove section of Cape Elizabeth and left school before graduating, married and pregnant. After divorce and a series of low-wage jobs, she earned her high school diploma, attended the University of Maine, and became a newspaper correspondent.

Following a long struggle, and with encouragement from other writers, she published The Beans of Egypt, Maine in 1985. Letourneau’s Used Auto Parts, which is set in Egypt, Maine soon followed in 1988. Her stories have appeared in various outlets, including The Ohio Review. She published Merry Men in 1994; Up River: The Story of A Maine Fishing Community, 1996; Elmer Walker: Hermit to Hero, 1998; The School on Heart’s Content Road, 2008.

Chute frequently speaks about class issues in America. She publishes The Fringe, a monthly containing articles on political journalism, short stories, and commentary on current events. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Thorton Wilder Fellowship.

Chute has been a resident of Parsonsfield.

Additional resources

Foust, Karen Leckey. A Comparative Analysis of the Depiction of Poverty in Une saison dans la vie d’Emmanuel and The Beans of Egypt, Maine. Orono, Me., 1988. (Thesis (M.A.) in French–University of Maine, 1988.) [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]

“Kratz Center for Creative Writing Presents Carolyn Chute.” Goucher College online News Story. October 22, 2009. http://www.goucher.edu/x34555.xml (accessed October 20, 2011)

McGrath, Kevin. “A Writer in a Living Novel.” New York Times. November 2, 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/books/04chut.html?pagewanted=all (accessed October 20, 2011)

“Carolyn Chute Collection, 1984-2002.” Maine Women Writers Collection. University of New England. http://www.une.edu/mwwc/research/featuredwriters/chutec.cfm (accessed October 20, 2011)

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