Creator of PostSecret Web site to speak in Bates College event

Frank Warren, creator of an award-winning Web site that has allowed hundreds of thousands of people to anonymously share their secrets through handmade postcards, gives Bates College’s annual Bertha May Bell Andrews Lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, March 9, in Lewiston Middle School Auditorium, 75 Central Ave.

The creator of the popular “PostSecret” Web site offers a lecture titled “The Most Trusted Stranger in America.” A book signing follows.

A limited number of tickets will be available for the public from Thursday, March 5, until noon March 9 or when they run out. Tickets are $11 and are nonrefundable. Buy tickets; bring the ID that you use for the purchase and pick them up at the “will-call” station. A sign-language interpreter will be available. Call 207-786-8272 to reserve a seat near the interpreter.

The event is sponsored by the college’s Multifaith Chaplaincy and several co-sponsors, including the departments of psychology and sociology, the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, the College Lectures Committee and a number of student organizations.

Inspired by a dream in a Parisian hotel room, Warren created the PostSecret community art project in 2005. He invited people around the globe to mail him a secret on one side of a postcard, and each week, he posted 10 secrets on the Web site.

What began as an art project became a mass phenomenon. To date, Warren has posted thousands of pieces of art from people across the world, and claims to have received more than 200,000. PostSecret, a USA Today reporter wrote in 2006, is “where thousands of Americans go to anonymously post their deepest secrets, and where millions of Americans go to read them.”

Warren has appeared on the  “Today Show,”  “Good Morning America,”  “20/20,” CNN, MSNBC, NPR and Fox News. The Web site hosts more than 3 million visitors every month, and won Weblog of the Year in the 2007 Bloggie Awards.

“I’m just a typical suburban husband,” Warren told USA Today. “I’m an accidental artist. It’s been quite a journey, quite an adventure.”

Today, Warren receives 1,000 secrets each week at his home address (13345 Copper Ridge Road, Germantown, MD 20874), and he reads every one. Every Sunday night he posts 20 cards on his blog.

“I think it’s natural to want to hide from the parts of our life that we find confusing or painful, but if we do they’ll haunt us forever,” Warren said in a lecture at DePauw University in November 2007.

Warren has created four books (all published by William Morrow) from the postcards he has received: PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives (2005), My Secret (2006), The Secret Lives of Men and Women (2007) and A Lifetime of Secrets (2007) which reached No. 7 on the New York Times Best Seller List. One of his own secrets is included in each book.

A signature talk at Bates since 1975, the Andrews Lecture commemorates Bertha May Bell Andrews, who served on the Bates faculty from 1913 to 1917 and created the women’s physical education program at the college. Her son, Dr. Carl B. Andrews, of the Bates class of 1940, established the lectureship.

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