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New Mainers

Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors

Pat Nyhan, Ajan Pieter Van Voorst Van Beest (Photographs by), Reza Jalali (Foreword by)


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Who are these new Mainers, and why have they come here? They are from war-torn countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Cambodia; from poor Latin American nations; and from economically vibrant places like Hong Kong, India, and Europe—in other words, from across the global spectrum.

They came to Maine for a job or to reunite with their family or because they fell in love or to attend college here or to flee persecution in their homelands. Although the twenty-five immigrants who tell their stories had widely varying reasons for coming to Maine, many have made remarkable contributions to the state. Some contribute high-level skills in medicine, engineering, academia, law, public-school education, hotel management, and social services. Others have enriched the state's arts and sports worlds. Several are used to going back and forth across borders, either as transnational professionals or as migrant workers. About one-third of these immigrants are successful entrepreneurs. As you will find out, the journeys of these immigrants have not been easy, but all of them are glad they wound up in this state and are proud of their new identities as Mainers.

Praise For New Mainers: Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors

Certain to
enrich a reader's interest in the greater world and all it has to offer.
— Capital Weekly

...Told in a series of 25 profiles, the book presents a diverse and
enterprising mix of people who span five continents and countless walks
of life. How these immigrants came here, what they left behind, and the
lives they've built are the focus of this complex anthology...a
provocative and unsettling book for the very reasons that immigration is
such a difficult issue. Although the stories center on the experience
of 25 individuals, they reflect, to some degree, on all of
strips the theoretical veil from the immigration debate and gives it two
dozen human faces.
— Working Waterfront

...allows 25 immigrants to Maine to tell about their unique experiences
moving to this state.... Not surprisingly, immigrants have made
significant contributions to the state in the areas of medicine,
engineering, academia, law, public school education, hotel management
and social services.... How we arrived in this country varies from
individual to individual. But, we are, nonetheless, bound to our future
as a whole community.
— Maine Sunday Telegram

Tilbury House Publishers, 9780884483120, 184pp.

Publication Date: March 6, 2009

About the Author

Pat Nyhan is a former journalist with
the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and Maine Times who
teaches English as a Second Language to immigrants. She has worked for
Human Rights Watch on African issues, taught English in Afghanistan in
the Peace Corps, and taught media studies at the University of Southern
Maine. The author of Zigzag: A Working Woman's Life in Changing Times
and Let the Good Times Roll! A Guide to Cajun & Zydeco Music, Pat
has lived in Maine for almost thirty years.

Photographer Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest is a Dutch national who
moved to Maine from the Netherlands in 1970. His work has been widely
shown in solo, group, and juried exhibits in the U.S and Holland. He has
published three books of photography: San Miguel de Allende, a
photographic essay; Portland, Maine, in Black and White; and Flesh and
Stone. He started in photography in the early 1970s after taking courses
at the Portland School of Art, now the Maine College of Art. He also
had a long career as a transportation and logistics executive.

Reza Jalali is a writer, educator, and a Muslim Scholar, who has
taught courses at the University of Southern Maine and Bangor
Theological Seminary. Jalali's books include New Mainers (©2009,
Tilbury), Moon Watchers (©2010, Tilbury), Homesick Mosque and Other
Stories, and The Poets and the Assassin. His children's book, Moon
Watchers, has received the Stepping Stone Multicultural Award. His
five-act play, The Poets and the Assassin, which is about women in Iran
and Islam, has been staged at Bates College, University of Southern
Maine, Bowdoin College, University of New England, and the Space
Gallery, among others. In May 2015, Jalali was featured in the National
Public Radio's popular program, The Moth Radio.