Cynthia Underwood Thayer
A Brief Lunacy by Maine writer Cynthia Underwood Thayer

Cynthia Underwood Thayer

Cynthia Underwood Thayer was born in New York City in 1944, raised in Nova Scotia, and migrated to Maine via Massachusetts in 1976 to farm organically. For many years she was a weaver, showing her work throughout Maine and the east coast. Seventeen years ago, at the age of 50, she wrote her first short story, which was published in the Antigonish Review, and was hooked on writing.

She earned her BA in British literature from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and went on to do her graduate work in nineteenth-century British literature. While in Massachusetts, she taught high school English and theater at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, and since living in Maine, she has taught adult-education classes at Sumner High School, workshops for Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance and Schoodic Arts for All, fiction writing with Turnstone Writers’ Workshop, and fiction writing at University of Maine at Machias, as well as many other retreats and workshops.

Thayer's first novel, Strong for Potatoes, published in 1998 by St. Martin's Press, won the Rep's Choice Award, was named best new fiction by Ingram Books, and was a Barnes and Noble Discover book. It was released in 1999 in paperback and is available in audio. Her second novel, A Certain Slant of Light, was published by St. Martin's Press in 2000. The condensed version was published by Reader's Digest in English, Portuguese, Danish, and Swedish. Algonquin Books published A Brief Lunacy in March, 2005, and Random House published the paperback the following year. All three books were named BookSense books.

Thayer is the founder and president of Schoodic Arts for All, a founding member of the Meetinghouse Theatre Lab, a member of the Wednesday Spinners of “WEARINGWOOL naked spinners” fame, a singer with Schoodic Summer Chorus, and plays lead pan in Schoodic Steel Pan Band.

She lives with her family on Darthia Farm in Gouldsboro, a waterfront organic farm and mail-order business.