Shannon Mullen


We hope you will join us on Sunday, November 5 at  2:00 p.m. for a very special event.  Journalist Shannon Mullen will be here (with a special appearance by Governor Janet Mills) to talk about her book  In Other Words, Leadership:  How a Young Mother’s Weekly Letters to Her Governor Helped Both Women Brave the First Pandemic Year.


This trip to the “Vacationland” of Maine — where the state motto is I Lead — offers an inspiring tale of civility and purpose, of doing the right thing and not just surviving, but prevailing.

The first woman to serve as Governor of Maine, Janet Mills, had been in office a year when COVID-19 reached the United States. The recently-widowed 72-year-old wrote in her journal there is “no playbook for a pandemic” as she imposed unprecedented restrictions on her state.

When early support for the governor’s response curdled to rampant opposition, a young mother named Ashirah Knapp sent a letter of support from a remote homestead in the woods of Maine. Ashirah’s handwritten dispatch detailed how the public health emergency was upending her family’s life and livelihood, and she promised to keep writing “every week until we are through this time” to remind the governor how many Mainers supported her despite the disruption.

Ashirah’s letters, with their simple wisdom and striking penmanship, stood out in a flood of correspondence Governor Mills was receiving that ranged in tone from appreciative to furious. They helped keep her grounded as she made wrenching, often unpopular choices.

Shannon A. Mullen weaves from these two women’s letters and the governor’s journal, which were never intended for publication, an intimate and compelling true story that is a celebration of civility and compassion in the face of rancor and of resolve in the face of adversity.

Copies of the book will be for sale.  Light refreshments will be served.  Doors open at 1:30.    Parking available at the Village Fire Station (North Street) and Consolidated School (Route 9).  Please call (207) 967-2778 for more information.

Governor Janet Mills:

Janet Trafton Mills is the 75th Governor of Maine and the first woman elected to that office. She was sworn in for her second consecutive term in January 2023 after winning re-election, having earned more votes than any previous Maine governor. She was also the first governor since 1970 to be elected with a majority of the vote, in her case for both terms. Under her leadership during the global COVID-19 pandemic Maine had one of the highest vaccination rates and lowest death rates in the US, as well as one of the strongest economic recoveries among the states. Governor Mills previously served as Maine’s first female Attorney General and its first woman district attorney, as well as in the state’s House of Representatives. She is step-mother to her late husband’s five daughters and a grandmother of five.







Author Shannon Mullen:

Shannon A. Mullen is a journalist, author, screenwriter and film producer, playwright and podcast host. She grew up in the White Mountains and Lakes Region of New Hampshire and studied pre-veterinary medicine at UNH after misinterpreting her love of storytelling, inspired by James Herriot’s books, as an inclination toward animal husbandry. She then earned a graduate degree in broadcast journalism at Boston University. Shannon went on to report for national programs on public radio for two decades, including Marketplace, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Her print journalism has been published by The New Yorker, The Boston Globe and Boston Magazine, among other outletsShe is also developing multiple projects for the screen and stage through her production company Broad Reach.