Appledore Books Newsletter
June 2008

The novel-in-verse Tahirih Unveiled by Julia Older received the Bronze Medal for poetry at the 2008 international Independent Publisher Book Awards ceremony in Los Angeles May 30.

Tahirih of Persia (1818-1854) was courageous as Joan of Arc, determined as Elizabeth Stanton, and beautiful as the legendary Scheherazade. She often lectured (behind a curtain) at her father's Mosque in Qazvin. A religious prodigy, Tahirih prophesied the coming of a 1000-year Prophet, Bab. Denounced as a heretic by her Mullah father, uncle and husband, she was sent into exile. Tahirih composed spiritual poems on horseback in the Mazanderin forests above Tehran and on an 800-mile desert caravan to teach at Karbala.

Bab made her his disciple, and at the First Babi Conference, Tahirih led the women in their fight for equality. Older's moving sequence of poems opens new perspectives on the Persian culture then and now.

Julia Older will be reading and discussing her novel-in-verse Tahirih Unveiled and her award-winning historical novel This Desired Place, second novel in the Isles of Shoals Trilogy, on:
  • July 8 Tuesday 7:00 p.m. Amherst NH Town Library.
  • July 12 Saturday 1:00 p.m. Kennebunk Book Port, Shopper's Village, Kennebunk, Maine.


On June 29, 1835, Celia Thaxter was born at 50 Daniel Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and four years later moved with her family to The Isles of Shoals 10 miles off the Maine and New Hampshire coastlines. Her major contribution to the social and cultural life of the beloved Shoals and New England exceeded her work as poet and writer. An honorary plaque at her birthplace was dedicated in 1999.

As hostess to the American luminaries of the mid-1800s, Celia Thaxter gathered together her friends John Greenleaf Whittier, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sarah Orne Jewett, Annie Fields, William Morris Hunt, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Childe Hassam, and very many other writers and artists. At her invitation, they spent the summer months at the Shoals working at their chosen fields with like-minded colleagues and artists.

The biographical novel The Island Queen; Celia Thaxter of the Isles of Shoals by Julia Older, and Celia Thaxter; Selected Writings, edited by Older, bring forward Thaxter's extraordinary life and writing.

In fact, among visitors to Celia's island cottage were Marian MacDowell and her husband composer Edward MacDowell. In part, Thaxter's influence inspired Marian MacDowell to establish in Peterborough, NH, The MacDowell Colony, which provided a writing refuge for Older early in her writing life.

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