BELFAST — Left Bank Books and the Belfast Free Library invite the public to celebrate the launch of Elizabeth Garber’s memoir, “Sailing at the Edge of Disaster: A Memoir of a Young Woman’s Daring Year,” at the library at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13. Reservations, which are strongly recommended for this free event, can be made by calling 207-338-9009 or emailing info@leftbankbookshop. Garber’s talk will be recorded and available to view on BCTV and the library’s YouTube Channel.

In 1971, Garber’s domineering father announced he was sending his “problem children” — 17-year-old bookish Elizabeth and her 14-year-old brother Woodie — to a school on a sailing ship, so they would “shape up and learn to work.” “Sailing at the Edge of Disaster” is the story of Garber’s time on board a once-majestic yacht-turned-sailing school along with her brother and 50 high school misfits. They have no idea what dangers await them. They learn to splice, climb the rigging, and survive an act of piracy, a storm at sea, a near-sinking, and being held hostage for two weeks by armed gun boats in Panama.

Garber’s memoir follows the journey of Oceanics School students and faculty as they motor their limping ship — the once-magnificent yacht formerly owned by General Post heiress, socialite, and philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather Post — out of Miami to begin the grand itinerary their charismatic 25-year-old school director envisioned. As the voyage unfolds, Garber discovers the rigors, joys, and triumphs of being at sea. Her book chronicles a transformative year in the throes of late adolescence that leads to courage, grace, and a reclamation of selfhood.

Gregory Brown, author of “The Lowering Days,” writes that Garber’s book “absolutely swept me away. Profoundly observed, richly alive with the rhythms of the sea and young adulthood, and outrageously funny. . .Perhaps the most powerful lesson: sometimes you have to risk it all to truly find yourself. This is a book that lives in the space where adventure, heartache, and possibility collide.”

Garber is also the author of “Implosion: A Memoir of an Architect’s Daughter;” three books of poetry; and “Maine (Island Time),” a collaboration of her poetry with paintings and photographs of Michael Weymouth. Her essays and excerpts have appeared in Salon, Maine Homes, Johns Hopkins Magazine, and her poems have been included in several journals and anthologies. She received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program, was awarded writing fellowships at Virginia Center for Creative Arts and Jentel Artist Residency, and received a BA in Humanities from Johns Hopkins and a Masters in Acupuncture from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute. She has maintained a private practice as an acupuncturist for nearly 40 years in Midcoast Maine, where she raised her family.

The Belfast Free Library is located downtown at 106 High St. Copies of “Sailing at the Edge of Disaster,” which go on sale on the day of the event, are available now for pre-order at the bookshop. Visit for more information.