Kerri Arsenault

Author, Editor, Book Critic

Kerri Arsenault is a book critic, contributing editor at Orion magazine, and the author of Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains, which won the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award from the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Maine Literary Award for nonfiction. Mill Town was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Leonard Prize. Her work has appeared in Freeman’s, the Boston Globe, the Paris Review, the New York Review of Books, the Washington Post, the New York Times. She also has had 86 jobs. For 2022-2023, Kerri Arsenault will be the Warren Center American Democracy fellow at Harvard, and a Beckman Center fellow at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia.

She has appeared in over 200 book-related events as subject, moderator, guest speaker, teacher, invited guest, and panelist; at countless literary festivals, libraries bookstores, book clubs, museums, radio shows, podcasts, TV, and universities (from grade school to grad school) and discussed in these venues such topics as anthropology, genealogy, architecture, sociology, narrative nonfiction writing and craft, political science, environmental studies and sciences, migration, environmental storytelling, history, identity, journalism, social justice, and toxics, wastes and pollutants.

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Mill TownReckoning with What Remains
St. Martin’s Press

Kerri Arsenault grew up in the small, rural town of Mexico, Maine, where for over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that provided jobs for nearly everyone in town, including three generations of her family.

Listen to Kerri Arsenault as she discusses writing and survival on the Montana Public Radio.

Check out some of Kerri Arsenault’s past event recordings.

"Kerri Arsenault brings what college and university audiences need, combining refreshing candor and a relatable demeanor with profound insights and lightbulb-moment connections."
--Noah Toly, Provost, Calvin University

"Kerri's visit to my Creative Nonfiction class was one of the student's highlights of the semester. Kerri offered useful, down-to-earth advice on the drafting, researching, and editing process, which she elucidated with powerful personal anecdotes from her own writing life. It was an afternoon none of us will soon forget."
--Elizabeth Rush, Professor of the Practice, Department of English

"Kerri is an engaging and dynamic speaker, whose generosity and good humor immediately connect to a wide range of audiences, and these connections help her to make large, global issues like climate change and environmental pollution feel accessible, urgent, and real."
--Lacy M. Johnson, PhD, Associate Professor of Creative Writing, Department of English, Rice University

"With warmth, wit, and candor, Kerri Arsenault engaged each of my students and our whole literary-festival audience, bringing to life the impacts of ecological crises in beloved places and the power of words to make a difference."
--Amy Weldon, Professor of English, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa