Chats with Champions

This popular program brings outstanding members of the literary world, arts, and sciences to Skidompha to present programs that are free and open to the public. While the series’ emphasis is on top-notch authors, programs often appeal to a much wider audience.  

The widely diverse roster of exceptional programs has included bestselling, prize-winning authors, chefs, mystery writers, scientists, wildlife experts, artists, historians, criminologists, musicians and much more!

Brought to you by generous contributions from 

Missed a Chat? Check out our YouTube Page for recorded and archived programs!

Check this page and our calendar for the schedule of presentations and for more information about each speaker. Unless noted otherwise, all programs begin at 10 am.


      • August 8, 2019 (Thursday) – Craig & Fred” A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How they Rescued Each OtherChats with Champions welcomes Craig Grossi, former US Marine, and Fred, former Afghani stray. Grossi will speak at Skidompha Library on Thursday, August 8 at 10 a.m. in the Library’s Porter Meeting Hall. Please note that limited seating is available. Please also allow time for parking.

      Author Craig Grossi is an eight-year Marine Corps veteran, recipient of the Purple Heart, and Georgetown University graduate. He was as surprised as anyone to meet his first dog during his most dangerous field assignment in Afghanistan. Fred welcomed Grossi to one of the harshest environments in the world with a wagging tail: Sangin District in Helmand Province. After following him everywhere for two months in the field, Grossi was determined to get Fred to America. With proper scheming and a lot of help, he was able to send Fred home to his family in the states while he completed his tour.

      Grossi “left the Marines with a new mission: to share his story and his adventures with Fred.” Grossi’s memoir, Craig and Fred, is the uplifting and unforgettable true story of a US Marine, the stray dog he met on an Afghan battlefield, and how they saved each other. They now travel America together, “spreading the message of stubborn positivity.”

      Grossi was raised in Fairfax County, VA and is now a resident of Maine. When not traveling with Fred, he spends his time with veteran organizations including the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).

      Craig and Fred the book is available in two versions, one for adults and the other for young readers eight and older. Both formats will be available for purchase following Craig’s talk.

      Chats with Champions is a free community offering from your national award-winning Skidompha Library at 184 Main Street, Damariscotta, Maine. This program is generously sponsored by Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop. For more information, please call the library at 207-563-5513.

      • August 14, 2019 (WEDNESDAY at 12 p.m.) – Richard Clarke and Robert Knake – The Fifth Domain: Cyber-Security


      • August 20, 2019 (Tuesday) – Susanne Dunlap – Listen to the Wind: Orphans of Tolosa, Book 1

      Chats with Champions welcomes Susanne Dunlap, author of historical fiction, to Skidompha Library on Tuesday August 20. Dunlap will discuss her newest novel, Listen to the Wind, Book I of The Orphans of Tolosa Trilogy.

      Kirkus Reviews says in this “well-researched novel, Dunlap breathes life into the distant 13th-century setting by providing many every day, textural details, such as the uncomfortable realities of wearing jousting armor. Poetry and music are as essential to the plot as warfare, with engaging glimpses of trobairitz (female troubadours). A complex, absorbing, and dramatic start to a planned series.”

      Susanne is the author of seven historical novels for adults and teens. Her young adult historical novel, The Musician’s Daughter, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Bank Street Children’s Book of the Year, and was nominated for the Missouri Gateway Reader’s Prize and the Utah Book Award. Book II of The Orphans of Tolosa will be released in December, 2019.

      A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York. She now lives and writes in Northampton, MA.

      • September 5, 2019 (Thursday) – Bob Hills: Iceland
      • September 17, 2019 (Tuesday) – Beth Preston
      • October 10, 2019 (Thursday) – Dr. Judy Stone on Resilience: One Family’s Story of Hope and Triumph over Evil
      • October 24, 2019 (Thursday) – Marnette Graff, Mystery Writer
      • May 5, 2020 (Thursday) – Earle Shettleworth: How Maine’s Celebrated its Centennial in 1920