Friday, October 7, 2011

Maine Arts Commission Fellowship Recipient Earns National Acclaim for First Book

Award-winning nonfiction writer Maureen Stanton of Georgetown, Maine has received national attention and critical acclaim for her first book, a work of literary nonfiction, Killer Stuff and Tons of Money, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at America’s modern day peddlers and lay historians—itinerant flea market/antiques dealers. Over a span of six years, Stanton periodically “shadowed” mid-level antiques dealer, Curt Avery (a pseudonym), as he searched for historical treasures in antiques shops, at auctions, and at flea markets and antiques shows fields, including the Union, Maine Antiques Festival, the site of one chapter of the book. Avery left behind a decade of trouble in his twenties to fashion a vocation from his childhood hobby of bottle digging. Through years of “field research” at flea markets and antiques shows, working a minimum-wage auction house job, and studying obscure reference books, Avery achieved hard-won success through his passion for history and love of antiques. Readers follow Avery’s journey to tense and comical auctions, the rarified realm of fancy antiques shows, and the mayhem of flea markets, including one of the world’s largest in Brimfield, Massachusetts. Stanton interweaves the lively scenes with histories of auctions, collecting, fakes, and micro-biographies of objects people love to collect: opium bottles, Ouija boards, weathervanes, shrunken human heads, comic books, forks, chairs. Readers peer behind-the-scenes at Antiques Roadshow, learn eBay’s effects on the trade, the psychology of collecting, meet a master “forger” and an eBay wizard, who makes money buying “mistakes.”

Killer Stuff and Tons of Money was released in June 2011, and since then has received national attention. Stanton was invited on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” (Weekend Edition), and with host, Laura Sullivan, spent the morning at Washington, D.C.s famous Eastern market. Stanton was the featured guest on National Public Radio’s nationally syndicated talk show, “On Point with Tom Ashbrook” (produced by WBUR-Boston) as well as several other radio/television interviews and appearances, including Newtalk Ireland, and the Frank DeCaro show (with cohost, Chaz Bono). Critics have lauded Killer Stuff and Tons of Money, which was selected by Parade Magazine as one of six nonfiction “recommended books” in their 2011 summer reading guide.

Praise for Killer Stuff and Tons of Money:

“A treasure-trove of a book, especially for would-be antiquers.” –Kirkus Reviews

“An intoxicating read that rips away the lace curtain from the antiques biz.” –Parade Magazine

“Utterly engaging…Not since Larry McMurtry’s fictitious rogue ‘Cadillac Jack’ has there been such a charming emissary from the world of the previously owned…Killer Stuff rings as true as a 17th century bell.” –The Washington Post

“Killer Stuff and Tons of Money is a deeply researched, memorably written narrative about the world of people who buy and sell antiques as their livelihoods…For anybody who treasures superb writing, the book will please page after page.” –St. Louis Post Dispatch

“[D]ynamite…one of those books you’ll start early and won’t really be able to put down or shake till you’re finished. Stanton’s a great writer [and] she’s a great guide.” –Kenyon Review

“Stanton captures the lower and middle echelons of the [antiques] business with great skill…her diverting and wholly unpretentious book makes a fine companion for a day at the beach—or a weekend treasure hunting.” –The Wall Street Journal

Maureen Stanton received her B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts award, and twice was awarded the Maine Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, has received a Pushcart Prize, and the Iowa Review Award in nonfiction. Her work has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies, including The Florida Review, Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, The Sun, and American Literary Review, among others. Her essays have been listed as “Notable” in Best American Essays (Houghton Mifflin) in 1998, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009. She teaches part-time at the University of Missouri, and resides in Georgetown, Maine.

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