Events & Programs

A Rich Selection of Activities for Young and Old and In Between

Mark Twain loved a good circus, and so do we. So we are proud to present a rich array of events that range from the "Trouble Begins at 5:30" lecture series, to the "Tapping into Twain" Oktoberfest, to the many family activities such as Tom Sawyer Day and the Ice Cream Social, to our spooky Graveyard Shift ghost tours, to our Mark My Words event and other appearances by major authors – and much, much more. So have a look through the year ahead by clicking on the tabs below.

Dec

December


Herstory Theater & The Mark Twain House & Museum present IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A Live Radio Play

Saturday, December 6, 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

This event will take place at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT.

George Bailey, Zuzu, Clarence the Angel, and grumpy old Mr. Potter are turning Hartford into Bedford Falls this year! Come relive the story of a man who gets to see what life would have been like if he had never been born. (And there's even a Twain connection--when Clarence is pulled out of the water, he dries off his copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer!)

When the film It's A Wonderful Life was released in 1946, it was not an immediate popular or financial success. However, it's reputation grew over the years, and a clerical error resulting in the loss of its copyright protection resulted in it being shown widely during the Christmas season every year. It has become a phenomenon, and many don't feel that their holiday season is complete without watching it.

Now, there's a very unique opportunity to revisit this wonderful story--in a fun, live radio-show performance, complete with a foley (sound effects) artist! If you liked our "Dracula" program last month, you'll love this!

The play is written by Joe Landry and is directed by Virginia Wolf.

The Connecticut cast and crew include: Bill Arnold of East Windsor, Steve O’Brien and Joe Sacala of Simsbury, Chris Berrien of East Granby, Kathryn Lewis (stage manager) of Wethersfield,  Jomarie Pipolo of West Hartford, Ian Galligan (foley artist) of Meriden, and Virginia Wolf of Farmington.

The performance is 90 minutes, and there is no intermission.

Saturday, December 6 - TWO SHOWS! 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

$10; For tickets: call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum 34th Annual Holiday House Tour

Sunday, December 7, 11:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.

This is the famed-in-Connecticut weekend holiday tradition when people flock to the Mark Twain House, and to five distinctive area homes, for The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum Holiday House Tour.

The tour will feature Mark Twain's 19-room home and The Hartford Club, where Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was a member.

Several historic homes will be opened for viewing for the 34rd year of this event. Each will be decorated for the holidays and will feature live music and floral arrangements. The Twain mansion will be decorated for a 19th-century Christmas with the Samuel Clemens family.

The tour takes about three hours and requires some driving, but all the houses are not far from one another.

Proceeds from the tour will benefit the continued restoration, preservation, and education programs of The Mark Twain House & Museum, which is a National Historic Landmark.

Please visit our dedicated Holiday House Tour website here for complete details about the afternoon.

Watch a video about the tour here.

Our sponsors include:

Viking Oil Company
Hooker & Holcombe, Inc.
Aaron & Sandra Gersten
Pamela Dowling & James Healey, Jr.
Sponsorship in memory of Brent Wells
Sponsorship in memory of Fran Gordon, First President of the Friends

Catering contributions: Dawn Bauer, Russell's Creative Global Cuisine, and Mozzicato DePasquale Bakery & Pastry Shop

The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum is a volunteer organization that has supported the museum for more than 50 years. Proceeds from the tour will benefit the continued restoration, preservation, and education programs of The Mark Twain House & Museum, which is a National Historic Landmark.

Tickets: $30 in advance. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here. Tickets will be $35 each on the day of the tour, Sunday, December 7, and can be purchased at The Mark Twain House & Museum. Tickets purchased after 12/1 should be picked up at The Mark Twain Museum Center only.

Tickets can also be purchased at:

Bella Flora (Rocky Hill) (860) 563-6633
Crandall and Daughter (South Windsor) (860) 648-0014
Designed to Order (Manchester) (860) 432-9015
De Vars-Phillips Florist & Antiques (Hartford) (860) 523-1235
Emmy Lou's, Ltd. (Glastonbury) (860) 633-9565
Flower Box (Wethersfield) (860) 529-6843
Fringe Hair Works (West Hartford) (860) 236-3746
Gledhill Nursery (West Hartford) (860) 233-5692
Haworth Flower Shop & Greenhouses (Farmington) (860) 677-1684
Horan's Flower Shop (Simsbury) (860) 651-8554
Labrazel Home (West Hartford) (860) 232-6300
Le Petite France (West Hartford) (860) 231-9255
Moscarillo's Garden Shoppe (West Hartford) (860) 236-5487
Nelson Salon and Spa (West Hartford) (860) 570-1400
Riverside Nursery & Garden Center (Canton) (860) 693-2285 

MARK STEYN & SCOTT SIMON HAS BEEN CANCELLED. Refunds will be issued. Our apologies!

Monday, December 8,

This event has been cancelled. Refunds will be issued. Please call (860) 280-3130.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Elisabeth Petry on "'Can Anything Beat White?' A Black Family's Letters."

Wednesday, December 10, 5:00 p.m. reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

Author and journalist Elisabeth Petry discovered old letters and photos in a tin ice cream-cone box that recounted the lives of her African American family in Hartford and Old Saybrook from Twain's era until the early 20th century. Her great-great grandfather was coachman to a prominent Hartford businessman and politician, and her great-grandmother collected the Clemens family's autographs -- and remembered seeing Clemens and his butler George Griffin, a family friend, walking down a Hartford street all dressed in white. Petry's book -- Can Anything Beat White? -- recounts her discoveries and her family's saga. 

The Trouble Begins at 5:30 is The Mark Twain House & Museum’s free, popular after-work monthly lecture series on Twainian subjects The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation intriguing Twainian lectures since 2010. It takes its name from Twain's own lecture posters, which were headed "The Trouble Begins at Eight." 

The series is supported by Connecticut Explored magazine, Hot Tomato's restaurant and The Friends of the Mark Twain House & Museum. ASL signing for the lectures is provided courtesy of students of the Interpreting 1 Class in Northwestern Connecticut Community College's Interpreter Preparation Program. 

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Jacqueline Schwab Holiday Concert in the Mark Twain House Drawing Room

Wednesday, December 10, 7:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum presents Jacqueline Schwab, pianist on the Ken Burns "Mark Twain" documentary, performing an intimate holiday concert in drawing room of The Mark Twain House. 

Pianist Jacqueline Schwab, heard on Ken Burns' PBS documentary Mark Twain (and his Civil War, Baseball, National Parks, The War, and others) will share her reflective and lilting solo piano arrangements of vintage American holiday and other music--tunes that been heard in Twain's parlor: 19th-century American standards (such as We Three Kings and It Came Upon the Midnight Clear), Appalachian carols, and sea island spirituals, along with Civil War and Stephen Foster parlor tunes, Victorian dance hall music, Scots and Irish airs and dance tunes brought over by settlers, and ragtime. Schwab has performed at the White House (for President Clinton), and, with Scottish singer Jean Redpath, on the Late Show with David Letterman and A Prairie Home Companion. Her signature arrangements of American "heart songs" and dance tunes reflect the community style of music making in Twain's Day but also draw on sounds of today's traditional music world. Come warm your hearts, tap your toes, and perhaps even join in singing!

Seating for this very special event will be extremely limited.  

Sponsored by Falcetti Music.

Tickets are $30 / $25 for Mark Twain House & Museum Members.  For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Marlon James discusses "A Brief History of Seven Killings"

Friday, December 12, 7:00 p.m.

This event is presented in conjunction with the City of Hartford and Real Art Ways.

Author Marlon James will discuss his new novel A Brief History of Seven Killings which has just been published to universal acclaim. 

The New York Times says:

"How to describe Marlon James’s monumental new novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings”?

It’s like a Tarantino remake of “The Harder They Come” but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner, with maybe a little creative boost from some primo ganja. It’s epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting — a testament to Mr. James’s vaulting ambition and prodigious talent.

 “Brief History” uses the story of the 1976 assassination attempt on Marley as a kind of trampoline, bouncing off that terrible event into a multilayered, choral inquiry into Jamaican politics and poverty, into race and class, and into the volatile relationship between the United States and the Caribbean. Spanning several decades, the novel attempts to trace connections between the gang wars in the Kingston ghettos, C.I.A. efforts to destabilize a left-wing Jamaican government in the 1970s and even the crack epidemic in America in the 1980s."

About Marlon James

Marlon James is a Jamaican novelist, who has been teaching English and creative writing at Macalester College since 2007. He is the author of The Book of Night Women (2010), a novel about a slave woman's revolt in a Jamaican plantation in the early 19th century. This work won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. His earlier novel, John Crow’s Devil (2005), was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

His third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, has just been published. James is a graduate of the University of the West Indies where he earned a degree in Literature (1991). Subsequently, he did his Master's in Creative Writing from Wilkes University (2006).

Followed by a book sale & signing.

 

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Christmas CLUE Tours!

Friday, December 12, Tours step off every 15 minutes beginning at 7 p.m. Reservations required.

Who killed that varmint Pap Finn??? Any why during the holidays??? Play our live-action version of the classic game CLUE in the Mark Twain House. Was it Becky Thatcher with the revolver in the Conservatory? The Prince (or was it the Pauper?) with the knife in the library? This hour long tour features SEA TEA IMPROV as Twain's beloved characters/suspects and all the murder, mayhem and merriment one would expect from Sam Clemens!

Featured on the Travel Channel show "Wackiest Tours!"¯

ONE NIGHT ONLY! Tours step off every 15 minutes. Reservations required.

$22 with discounts available for members and children. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing or click here.

Editing Boot Camp with Steve Courtney: A Writing Workshop

Saturday, December 13, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The editor is the writers' silent partner, whose work is crucial to getting the message out. Steve Courtney, author and editor of both non-fiction books and magazine pieces, will pass along the basics of the several different kinds of editing that make a narrative clearer and sharper -- and then spruce up details of style to ensure a professional touch to a writer's work. The editor's task can be a delicate one, requiring a mixture of diplomacy and toughness. Toughness is required, above all, to convince writers to delete their own most-loved passages, to "murder your darlings" as Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch advised in 1914.

 

Please contact Julia.Pistell@MarkTwainHouse.org.

Jan

January


"Eugene O'Neill - A Life in 4 Acts" with author Robert Dowling

Tuesday, January 13, 7:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum presents an evening with author Robert M. Dowling discussing his just-published new biography Eugene O'Neill: A Life in Four Acts.

This free Book/Mark event takes place at The Mark Twain House Museum Center .

This is a major new biography of the Nobel Prize-Winning playwright whose brilliantly original plays revolutionized American theater.

"Dowling has written the single most complete and up-to-date account of O'Neill's life that we have....To call his scholarship 'sound' is vastly to understate it; his accomplishment in marshalling all this disparate and often obscure material into a well-organized and highly readable account is nothing less than astonishing."-Jackson R. Bryer, co-editor of Selected Letters of Eugene O'Neill.

Robert M. Dowling is professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. He is the author of Slumming in New York: From the Waterfront to Mythic Harlem (2007) and author and editor of the two-volume Critical Companion to Eugene O'Neill: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work (2009). His latest projects include a folio for the online journal Drunken BoatCeltic Twilight: 21st-Century Irish Americans on Eugene O'Neill (2010); an anthology, Eugene O'Neill and His Contemporaries: Bohemians, Radicals, Progressives, and the Avant Garde (2011), co-edited with Eileen Herrmann; and a compendium of O'Neill's opening night reviews, co-edited with Jackson R. Bryer, published by Cambridge University Press. His biography, Eugene O'Neill: A Life in Four Acts, is published by Yale University Press (2014). Dowling serves on the editorial board of The Eugene O'Neill Review and the board of directors of the Eugene O'Neill Society. 

Eugene O'Neill was an Irish American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into American drama techniques of realism earlier associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwright August Strindberg. His plays were among the first to include speeches in American vernacular and involve characters on the fringes of society, where they struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations, but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair. His masterpiece, Long Day's Journey into Night, is at the apex of a long string of great plays, including Beyond the Horizon, Anna Christie, Strange Interlude, and The Iceman Cometh.

 

This is a free BOOK/MARK event, and is followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Writing for the Web with Wayne English

Wednesday, January 14, May 6 - June 10, 6 pm - 8 pm

This is an in-depth program where you will learn to communicate with crystal clear writing that stands alone. We show you how to: write for your target audience at an eighth grade level; how people read the web; to use acronyms; to write content that sells; product description; how to write for the expert and novice in the same article; how to blog, Tweet, create InfoGraphics; take and edit digital photographs to enhance your content; how to write About Us pages, Contact Us pages, how to write directions; and much more. You will refer to your notes for years to come because this program will stand you in good stead for the rest of your writing career.

Wayne English is a published author of three books; has local, national, and international publications in major and minor magazines, newspapers, and newsletters online and in print. An accomplished speaker, Wayne has presented at the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association writer’s conference, CAPA University) and at CAPA chapters. In April 2014 he presented Writing For The Web at the Mark Twain Museum. Wayne has spoken at book stores, businesses, and business networking events on writing for the web and social networking.

$265.

Advanced Nonfiction Writing with Susan Campbell

Thursday, January 15, Thursdays 6-8 p.m., beginning January 15th for 6 weeks

Work on your essays, memoirs, and opinion pieces with award-winning writer Susan Campbell. Get detailed and specific feedback in a small group workshop setting. For writers who have taken at least one writing class before, either at the Mark Twain House & Museum or elsewhere.

For eligibility questions, email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at Julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Tickets for the class are $265. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Writing Workshop: An Introduction to Found Poetry

Saturday, January 17, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Hidden Potential: An Introduction to Found Poetry with Lisa Mangini

This workshop will offer a brief overview of found poetry, and opportunities to try several guided prompts to create original works from source texts and materials, which will be provided. Discover poems that have been hiding all around us, from such unlikely places as study guides, scientific essays, celebrity interviews, and more. Transform and re-imagine the works of Shakespeare, Toni Morrison, and Walt Whitman into something you can call your own. Dog ear the corners, tear pages into strips, or mix different texts together. Doodle over selected passages to create a poem that intersects with visual art. This workshop is excellent for poets who are having trouble finding inspiration, poets who are looking to "break out" of their existing voice or style into something different, or anyone interested in perceiving the possibilities of a text differently.

$40. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Mark Twain House & Museum Offers Free Admission to Hartford Residents, Courtesy of The Hartford

Monday, January 19, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Thanks to The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., we are offering free tours to our valued neighbors -- the residents of the city of Hartford -- on Monday, January 19 (the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday).

Bring along proof of residency, and take that long-planned tour of Mark Twain's House! The House and museum are open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; the last tour is at 4:30 p.m..

Free for Hartford residents!

"The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America" by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld

Thursday, January 29, 7:00 p.m.

Publishers Weekly says:
“In their provocative new book, Chua (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) and Rubenfeld (The Interpretation of Murder)—Yale Law professors and spouses—show why certain groups in the U.S. perform better than others. According to the authors, three traits breed success: a superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control. Only when this ‘Triple Package’ comes together does it ‘generate drive, grit, and systematic disproportionate group success.’ Supported by statistics and original research….This comprehensive, lucid sociological study balances its findings with a probing look at the downsides of the triple package—the burden of carrying a family’s expectations, and deep insecurities that come at a psychological price.”

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

FREE LUNCHTIME LECTURE AT CHENEY HALL: MARK TWAIN AS A PLAYWRIGHT

Thursday, January 29, 12:00 noon at Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Road, Manchester, CT

The Mark Twain House & Museum’s Director of Communications and in-house playwright Jacques Lamarre offers a free lecture on Mark Twain’s odd career as a stage scribe – from the good to the bad to the ugly.

Part of the Twain on Stage Festival; Support provided by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council and The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

This is a free event! Bring your lunch; coffee provided.

R-RATED TWAIN -- Adapted by Jacques Lamarre & Julia Pistell with a special performance of Mark Twain: Ladies Man -- Performed by SEA TEA IMPROV

Saturday, January 31, 7:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum spices things up with Mark Twain’s most shocking works. This theatrical show will take the audience through the naughtiest puns, poems, parodies, and passages that Mark Twain wrote. Suffice to say the material covered by Twain in these writings is not suitable for most publications, family audiences or polite society.  As Twain said, “There are no people who are quite so vulgar as the over-refined,” so the historic house is looking forward to letting its hair down and introducing the public to these hysterical and deliciously deviant lesser-known works.

David Ryan Polgar’s short comedy Mark Twain: Ladies Man resurrects “The Lincoln of our Literature” in a modern pick-up bar. Brought back from the dead in order to access his legendary library of one-liners, Twain acts as a “wing-man” for a socially inept single guy desperately seeking love

Adults only please. Tickets are $20 / $15 for MTH&M Members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Feb

February


IS HE DEAD? Adapted by David Ives from the play by Mark Twain; Directed by Debi Freund

Friday, February 6, to Sunday 8, Friday 13 to Sunday 15, and Friday 20 to Sunday 22. Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 pm. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.

Performed by the LITTLE THEATRE OF MANCHESTER at Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Road, Manchester, CT

The first major production in Connecticut!  Starving artist Jean-Franēois Millet is an amazingly talented painter, but, like all living geniuses, his work is unappreciated.  Scheming with the help of his colleagues, he stages his own death in order to increase the value of his paintings.  The big question:  if he’s dead, how can he collect his riches? The answer:  Put on a dress and return as his sister, of course! This fast-paced comedy by the granddaddy of American Humor, Mark Twain and adapted by David Ives, is a combination of the Marx Brothers, Three Stooges and RuPaul’s Drag Race.  Premiered almost 100 years after Twain’s death, this “new” show is incredibly ironic!  

“An elaborate madcap comedy that registers high on the mirth meter and reaches especially giddy comic heights!” - Variety

Part of the Twain on Stage Festival; Support provided by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council and The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

Tickets are $19-$24. Please call (860) 647-9824 or visit www.littletheatreofmanchester.org.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Twain's Travels, and a Sneak Peek at a New Exhibit

Wednesday, February 11, 5:00 p.m. wine and hors d\\\'\\\'oeuvres reception; 5:30 talk

The Mark Twain House & Museum’s popular “The Trouble Begins at 5:30” lecture series opens its spring lineup with a special program of readings and conversation on the subject of Mark Twain’s international travels, presented by the curators of the upcoming exhibition, Travel Is Fatal to Prejudice’: Mark Twain’s Journeys Abroad.

The program will be led by Interim Chief Curator Mallory Howard and Guest Curator Dr. Kerry A. Driscoll. Steve Courtney, Interim Curatorial Assistant and organizer of the Trouble Begins series, will also cause Trouble.

(The ‘Travel Is Fatal to Prejudice’ exhibit will open with a special reception on Thursday, March 19, at 5:30 p.m.)

Mark Twain’s first major work was a travel book, The Innocents Abroad, and its publication brought him to Hartford.

While he traveled extensively throughout his life, three great journeys reflect the arc of his career and his deep hatred of bias and injustice that led to his iconic statement that “travel is fatal to prejudice” -- though he was not without prejudices of his own. He put all three into major books that are full of gems of Twainian observation, laughs, wisdom and lyricism:

-- In The Innocents Abroad (1869) the brash American Vandal newspaperman in Europe torments guides, camps out and makes fun of civilization. 

-- In A Tramp Abroad (1880) Twain follows a journey with an entourage of family and servants, a vast shopping trip – and escapes with a pal to the Alps. 

-- In Following the Equator (1897) he takes a celebrity’s journey, milked for its value in repairing the family finances – and written in grief.

The three participants will read from these works, and provide observations on how travel did – and didn’t – influence Twain’s life and thought.

"The Trouble Begins at 5:30" is The Mark Twain House & Museum's popular after-work lecture series on Twainian subjects, held on the second Wednesday of every month other than January and August. The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation and intriguing talks since 2010. It takes its name from Twain's own lecture posters, which were headed "The Trouble Begins at Eight." 


The series is supported by Connecticut Explored magazine, Hot Tomato's restaurant. Big Dollar Liquors of Bristol and The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum. ASL signing for the lectures is provided courtesy of students of the Interpreting 1 Class in Northwestern Connecticut Community College's Interpreter Preparation Program.  

Suggested donation $5.00. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

An Evening with Writer, Actor and Director B.J. Novak

Thursday, February 12, 7:00 p.m. at the Auditorium at Aetna

B.J. Novak is an all-around renaissance man--an actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter, author, and director. He is most widely known for being a writer and co-executive producer of the beloved TV series The Office, in which he also starred.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is pleased to announce that B.J. is coming to Hartford to do a benefit evening for the museum.  This exciting event will take place on Thursday, February 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium at Aetna in Hartford.  B.J. will be talking about his life, career, and his recently published book One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, which includes the short story "The Ghost of Mark Twain."  The event will be followed by a book sale and signing.

About B.J. Novak

B.J. Novak is a writer and actor widely known for his work on the acclaimed comedy series The Office as an actor, writer, and executive producer. He is also known for his performances as a standup comedian and for his roles in films such as Inglourious Basterds and Saving Mr. Banks. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, Playboy, Zoetrope, and other publications. In February of this year, a book of 22 stories, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, was published and spent 6 weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers List.  He also signed a deal with Penguin's children's books label and wrote the title The Book With No Pictures, which was released in September of this year and also made the New York Times Bestsellers List.

Author series generously supported by The Hartford.

Tickets

Tickets make a great holiday gift!  Prices are $30 ($25 for Mark Twain House Members). Please call (860) 280-3130 or click hereAll proceeds go to The Mark Twain House & Museum and its mission to preserve the home and legacy of Mark Twain.

Directions and Parking

The event takes place in the auditorium at Aetna. Aetna's street address is 151 Farmington Avenue, but the Aetna parking garage is accessed from a roadway/driveway (1 Aetna Way) off of Sigourney Street between Farmington Avenue and I-84.  Directions can be found here. There is no charge for parking for this event.

Love Is In The Air: An intimate lunch gathering with two Connecticut authors discussing love stories

Friday, February 13, 12:00 p.m.

Connecticut authors Katy Lee and Nan Rossiterwill be on hand for an intimate lunch gathering where fans can hear them chat about writing the love stories you love to read.

The authors will appear as part of the Appetizing Authors Series sponsored by The Write Pros to connect readers with authors. The event will feature a buffet lunch, a conversation and audience Q and A with the authors, moderated by Lucinda Secrest McDowell, book signings and door prizes. 

Katy Lee is the author of five published novels. She likes to say she writes higher purpose stories at high speed because her suspenseful romances thrill, inspire, and satisfy the reader-from the edge of their seat. Her Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense novels, WARNING SIGNS and GRAVE DANGER, both received the highest 4 1/2 star rating from Romantic Times Book Reviews. www.KatyLeeBooks.com

Nan Parson Rossiter graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in illustration. After freelancing for several years, she began writing and illustrating books for children, including RUGBY and ROSIE, winner of Nebraska's Golden Sower Award, and most recently, THE FO'C'SLE: Henry Beston's Outermost House. In 2011, Nan published her first novel, THE GIN and CHOWDER CLUB. She is also the author of WORDS GET IN THE WAY, MORE THAN YOU KNOW, UNDER A SUMMER SKY, and a short Christmas story in the anthology, MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT. Her newest novel, NANTUCKET, will be released in August, 2015. www.nanrossiter.com.

 

Tickets, priced at $20 (plus tax and processing), are available online at www.thewritepros.com. Seating is very limited. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

Questions or special dietary needs? Contact writepro@cox.net; 860-653-7733; www.thewritepros.com.

THE DIARIES OF ADAM & EVE by Mark Twain -- Performed by the National Theatre of the Deaf; Performance will be in English and American Sign Language

Saturday, February 14, 7:30 p.m. One performance only followed by chocolate and wine reception!

Love is the language that we can all feel.  When the Tony Award-winning National Theatre of the Deaf comes to the Twain Museum Center to perform Mark Twain’s most touching love story, audiences will also be able to see and hear every word.  The Diaries of Adam & Eve are a humorous and affectionate look at the first couple on Earth’s misadventures in the Garden of Eden.  A valentine of sorts to Twain’s own marriage to his beloved Livy, we celebrate Valentine’s Day with this unique performance followed by a wine and chocolate reception.  Suitable for adults.

Tickets are $25 / $20 for MTH&M Members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Hal Holbrook in "Mark Twain Tonight": The 90th Birthday Performance

Tuesday, February 17, 7:30 p.m.

One American legend salutes another!  Having first donned Samuel Clemens' infamous white suit in 1954, Hal Holbrook's humorous and affecting portrayal of Mark Twain has charmed audiences for six decades.  The Tony and Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee returns to the city that Twain called home for twenty years to mark an unforgettable occasion -- Mr. Holbrook's 90th birthday! This special event benefits "the loveliest home that ever was," The Mark Twain House.

With the iconic Bushnell Mortensen Hall's striking art-deco interior serving as the backdrop for this unforgettable night, audiences will laugh, learn and be inspired by Hal Holbrook's classic Mark Twain performance.  This exciting event takes place on Tuesday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m.

 

Tickets

To make this benefit event as affordable as possible to all Hal Holbrook fans, there is an array of ticket price options. The VIP Package at $125 includes Premium Orchestra Seating, and a private dessert reception after the show with Hal Holbrook.  Orchestra & Box seats are $75, Mezzanine seats are $40-$55, and Balcony seats are $25-$40.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.Bushnell.org or by phone at (860) 987-5900 All proceeds go to the Mark Twain House & Museum and its mission to preserve the home and legacy of Mark Twain.

“The Color of Justice” Documentary and Discussion

Thursday, February 19, Reception at 5:00 p.m., Program from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

This event will provide a forum to view and discuss the Connecticut Public Television documentary, The Color of Justice which examines how minority children enter Connecticut’s juvenile justice system at a higher rate than their white peers and are treated more harshly there. Research shows that these differences aren’t because of how kids behave, but because of the decisions that adults make.  The program will focus on understanding the issue and on finding concrete ways that citizens can act to promote equality for all Connecticut youth.  Participants will gain a better understanding of race and juvenile justice and its connection to implicit bias, student arrests and the opportunity gap. Tools for further action will be provided, giving individuals examples of how they can get involved to help create positive change such as: letter templates, reading lists and racism training.

Speakers include Lara Herscovitch, Deputy Director, Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, Michaelangelo Palmieri, Probation Supervisor, Middlesex County Superior Court for Juvenile Matters, and Cathy Jackman, Producer/Writer of The Color of Justice.

This program is presented in conjunction with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance.

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER - THE MUSICAL! Conceived and Written by Ken Ludwig Music and Lyrics by Don Schlitz; Directed by Jim Williams & Todd Santa Maria; Performed by the New Britain Youth Theatre Teen Company

Friday, February 20, 8:00 p.m.; Saturday February 21 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, February 22 at 2:00 p.m.

The performances will be at the Carriage House Theatre, 360 Farmington Avenue, Hartford (Located directly across from The Mark Twain House).

Broadway meets the mighty Mississippi when Mark Twain’s rambunctious river rascal gets a musical of his own!   From tricking his friends into painting a fence to faking his own death, Tom Sawyer knows how to get in trouble.  When Tom and his best friend Huck witness a graveyard murder, they embark on an adventure that is both hair-raising and high stakes.  This musical was created by the mastermind behind Moon Over Buffalo and Lend Me a Tenor. 

Part of the Twain on Stage Festival; Support provided by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council and The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

 

Tickets: $15 / $13 for children, students. Please call (860) 515-8115 or visit www.NBYT.org.

THE PRINCE & THE PAUPER - Adapted by Jacob Green; Performed by Shakesperience Productions

Saturday, February 21, 2:00 p.m. at the Mark Twain House Museum Center

Mark Twain took an unusual departure from his usual Mississippi adventures with a trip to Merry Olde England!  Tom Canty, a down-on-his-luck child, lives a life of poverty in Offal Court.  A chance encounter with Prince Edward, heir to the throne, leads to a switcheroo that teaches both boys that life isn’t easy at either end of the spectrum.  Shakespearience Production’s talented artists guide the audience on a journey of adventure and action, while prompting them to consider the folly of judging people by their appearances. A dynamic sound design, costumes, scenery and props round out this theatrical treat.

Part of the Twain on Stage Festival; Support provided by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council and The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

Tickets are $10 / $7 for children. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Social Media for Writers - 2 Workshops (Beginner, and Intermediate/Advanced)

Saturday, February 21, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon for the Beginner Workshop; and 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. for Intermediate/Advanced

Writers should benaturals at using social media, right? Well, not necessarily. Every writer is amaster at their craft, but social media is a different kind of art. Thisworkshop will explain how different  social media platforms can helpwriters promote themselves and their work, and build a community around them.We'll discuss Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others.Bring your questions and your laptops! Workshop for Beginners will go at aslower pace than Intermediate/Advanced. This is the Twain House's most popularworkshop ever!

Caitlin Thayer is theowner of Barefoot Media and has been using social media since 2003. She hashelped various non-profits and businesses in the Hartford community learn howto use social media effectively to build and support their community. Caitlin wasrecently named a Hartford Business Journal 40 Under 40 winner, and has beenfeatured in Hartford Magazine as "Hartford County's Young Achievers"and in an article about Young Entrepreneurs.

 

Tickets for each workshop are $40. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here to register.

Nook Farm Author Talk -- "Houses of Civil War America: The Homes of Robert E. Lee, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton, and Others Who Shaped the Era" with author Hugh Howard

Wednesday, February 25, 7:00 p.m. at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

A revealing historical and photographic tour of the homes of influential Civil War figures, including Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Clara Barton, Stonewall Jackson, and others.


Timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and a fitting sequel to Houses of the Presidents, HOUSES OF CIVIL WAR AMERICA takes readers into the daily lives of the most important historical figures in the nation-defining conflict. From modest abolitionist homes to the plantations of the antebellum south. Howard and Straus bring the most intimate moments of the war to life. With insightful narrative and gorgeous photography, HOUSES OF CIVIL WAR AMERICA demonstrates--through these landmark homes--the nation we were and the nation we became.

Presented with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

Followed by a book sale and signing. Hugh Howard is a member of the Mark Twain House Board of Directors.

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 522-9258 ext. 317.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf -- All The World's A Stage: Stories From Life In Front Of An Audience

Friday, February 27, 7:30 p.m.

Got a story to tell about life upon the stage or being in front of an audience? It could be a story about stage fright, the things you did to land a part, or what happened when you ended up being on a HUGE stage, or the smallest possible platform.  

Come hear and tell stories on the theme All The World's A Stage: Stories From Life In Front Of An Audience at The Mark Twain House & Museum's wildly popular storytelling series, The MOuTH, with WNPR radio personality Chion Wolf!  

The event is in no way a competition, just storytelling in front of friends in a museum dedicated to Mark Twain, one of our country's best storytellers.

Submissions are now open. Here's how it works: Email HartfordMouth@gmail.com with your name, approximate story length of LESS THAN 10 MINUTES (note - it usually takes longer to tell your story than you think! Tell it a few times to friends, refine it, and time it!), and a short description of what your story is about.

Wolf, along with Julia Pistell and Jacques Lamarre of the Mark Twain House, will look over the submissions and assemble a lineup. "If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally!" says Wolf. "It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future 'Mouth' event."

There will also be a "Wild Card": Those wanting to tell a short story can put their names in a hat when they arrive, and at some point, a name will be picked. Audio of the event will be recorded.

Chion Wolf, a noted photographer and voice perfomer, joined Colin McEnroe and producer Patrick Skahill to complete the trifecta that has become The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR as the show's announcer and sometimes-sidekick. She can be heard during station breaks many days of the week.

$5.00; to reserve, call 860-280-3130 or click here. (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.)

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, February 27, and Saturday, February 28, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for some winter fun. The Mark Twain House has been featured on Syfy Channel's Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel's My Ghost Story.

On these tours participants will hear all these creepy tales -- and learn about Mark Twain's own interest in the supernatural.

Filled with haunted history, dark tales and Victorian traditions surrounding seances and spiritualism, these nighttime tours are as educational as they are goosebump-inducing.

They sell out fast, so be sure to call 860-280-3130 soon to make your reservations!

The tours are tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Mar

March


BOOK/MARK: "Redeployment" with author Phil Klay

Tuesday, March 3, 7:00 p.m.

Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction

National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree

New York Times Bestseller

Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

In “Redeployment", a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died." In "After Action Report", a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened. A Morturary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains—of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both. A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel. And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System", a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball. These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming.

Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing. Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss. Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation.

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Writing Historic Fiction with Hunter Liguoire

Wednesday, March 4, Wednesday, March 4, Wednesdays 6-8 pm March 4th for 6 weeks

The course objective is to prepare writers, of all levels, with the skills necessary to complete a historical short story or novel chapter. We will explore a variety of topics geared to learning how to research your novel, and how to incorporate history into setting, characters, and plot. The class will consist of research and world building exercises, analysis of popular historical novels, and written fiction. Students will develop either a short story or a work-in-progress novel throughout the weeks. Students will leave with a thorough understanding of the historic novel, and feel confident to create a work of their own, hopefully building on the piece developed in workshop.

$265. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

An Evening with Nell Bernstein - "Burning Down The House"

Thursday, March 5, 6:30 p.m.; light supper reception at 5:30 p.m.

One in three American school children will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three. Many of these youth will spend time in detention centers that do not incorporate everything we know about how to rehabilitate young offenders. In a candid examination of the American juvenile justice system, award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child.  Join Bernstein and WNPR’s John Dankosky for a conversation that explores this controversial issue and discusses alternative community programs that support the child and their family.

Sponsored with Community Partners in Action, Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance & the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

 

Tickets are $20 which includes a light supper reception from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Writing Children's Books with Pegi Deitz Shea

Thursday, March 5, Thursdays from 6-8 pm March 5th - April 9th

Want to write for children and teens? Do you have ideas but don’t know where to start and how to get published? Pegi Deitz Shea will show you the range of children’s fiction, nonfiction and poetry, help you write your book, and how to use constructive critique to improve your skills. Come away from the course with at least one manuscript ready to submit to an agent or editor.

Pegi Deitz Shea is a two-time winner of the Connecticut Book Award for Children’s Literature, and has been teaching creative writing for more than 20 years. She has published in every category from baby board books, picture books and novels to poetry. Her work has won awards from the International Reading Association, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council for the Social Studies, Junior Library Guild and other organizations. She lives in Rockville with her husband, two children and beagle, Sunny.

$265. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Freelance Writing by Theresa Sullivan Barger

Saturday, March 7, March 7 - March 21, Saturdays from 9 AM - 12:00 pm

This three-week course is about the business and craft of freelance writing, starting with finding ideas, selecting the right outlet and crafting pitches that sell. We’ll cover query letters, how to become your editors’ go-to writer and how to advance your writing career. We’ll address:  making a living; avoiding slave wages; finding writing work; dealing with rejection – a fact of life for writers; essential tools of the trade; social media for writers; maximizing tax deductions and time-management. We’ll look at the pros and cons of being a specialist vs. a generalist and choosing the path that’s best for you. No matter where you are in your writing career, this class will help you move forward.

Theresa Sullivan Barger, a former staff writer and editor for The Hartford Courant, is an award-winning freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Yankee, The Huffington Post, AARP, The Saturday Evening Post, Center for Public Integrity, Yale Public Health, The Conference Board, CFO, CT Health Investigative Team, AAA Horizons, Hartford Business Journal, Seasons and many others.  A communication consultant, she also writes and edits mission statements, strategic plans, grants, white papers, blogs and website copy. She led a freelance writing workshop in 2013 for The Mark Twain House & Museum’s Sunday Afternoon Writers’ Workshop series.

$150. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Reformed Whores - Music & Comedy Duo

Saturday, March 7, 7:30 PM

MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY - They may be dressed in their Sunday best, but don't let their innocent smiles and southern charm fool you! If Tenacious D and Dolly Parton got drunk and had a baby it would be the musical comedy duo Reformed Whores! Southern bred, but NYC based, Marie Cecile Anderson andKaty Frame deliver hilariously dirty country tunes with a wink and a smile.

The Whores stay busy straddling both music venues and comedy clubs across the country and we are excited to welcome them to the Mark Twain House! To view these lovely sirens of sin in action, visit http://www.reformedwhores.com/#video

Tickets are $20/ $15 for Mark Twain House & Museum members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Twain, Travel and Prejudice

Wednesday, March 11, 5:00 p.m wine and hors d\'oeuvres reception; 5:30 talk

Continuing the prelude to our exhibit, “’Travel is Fatal to Prejudice’: Mark Twain’s Journeys Abroad,” opening March 19, former Mark Twain House Education Manager Craig Hotchkiss will speak on Mark Twain, Travel  and Prejudice.

The mature Mark Twain was the most recognized American in the world -- perhaps the best “good will ambassador” we have ever had.

Hotchkiss shows how, through travel, a boy with a parochial and bigoted upbringing was gradually transformed into a champion of human rights and equality across the globe. 

"The Trouble Begins at 5:30" is The Mark Twain House & Museum's popular after-work lecture series on Twainian subjects, held on the second Wednesday of every month other than January and August. The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation and intriguing talks since 2010. It takes its name from Twain's own lecture posters, which were headed "The Trouble Begins at Eight." 


The series is supported by Connecticut Explored magazine, Hot Tomato's restaurant. Big Dollar Liquors of Bristol and The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum. ASL signing for the lectures is provided courtesy of students of the Interpreting 1 Class in Northwestern Connecticut Community College's Interpreter Preparation Program.  

Suggested donation $5.00; Call 860-280-3130 to reserve.

TRANScribing: Gender Identity, Creativity, and Creative Expression

Wednesday, March 18, 7:30 p.m.

The program will feature two transgender authors:  Joy Ladin, a poet and the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish institution, and Tobias Davis, a transgender activist, playwright, and young adult novelist. The evening will also feature Dr. Joe Wenke, a writer, social critic and LGBTQ rights activist.

The panel will discuss their varied journeys and how they create their writings.  Topics will include what audience the authors are writing for, does their transgender status make it hard to get visibility for their work, and how they use their writing as a form of self-expression.  The discussion will be moderated by Jacques Lamarre, Director of Communications and Programs at the Mark Twain House.

Joy Ladin, Gottesman Professor of English at Yeshiva University, is the author of seven books of poetry, including Impersonation, Forward Fives award winner Coming to Life, and Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration. Her memoir, Through the Door of Life:  A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. Her work has appeared in many periodicals, including American Poetry Review, Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Parnassus, Southwest Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and North American Review, and has been recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship.

Tobias K. Davis currently works, lives, and writes in Massachusetts. He is a transgender activist, playwright, and young adult novelist. His works have been well received by both the transgender community and the theater community at large. He strives to create works which are entertaining, educational, and accessible. A graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, Davis has been featured in Newsweek magazine, on air at KFAI Radio, in the San Francisco Bay Times and several local papers in the Pioneer Valley and the Twin Cities.

Joe Wenke is a writer, social critic and LGBTQ rights activist. He is the founder and publisher of TransÜber, a publishing company with a focus on promoting LGBTQ rights, free thought and equality for all people. He is the author of several works of nonfiction as well as the recently published novel The Talk Show and Fresh Air, a book of poems. Releases in 2015 are Looking for Potholes: Poems and The Human Agenda: Conversations About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Wenke received a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in English from Penn State and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut.

 

This is a free event.  Reservations are recommended.  Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Exhibit Opening Reception: 'Travel Is Fatal to Prejudice': Mark Twain's Journeys Abroad

Thursday, March 19, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Mark Twain’s first major work was a travel book, The Innocents Abroad, or the New Pilgrims’ Progress, published in 1869.  In it, he writes: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."

We celebrate three great journeys he took during his lifetime, each of which led to a significant travel book full of humor , wisdom and lyrical description. It is our major exhibition for 2015, and invite the public to a reception to welcome it.

The exhibition will include such extraordinary items as Ottoman Turkish garb purchased on the first of these journeys, jewelry and othe rexotic items purchased on the second, and a rare jade Maori pendant purchased onthe third -- aloing with books, manuscripts and revealing letters. Visitors will enter setpiece scenes from the books that will put them in the traveling spirit -- and provide a spot for a selfie.

See the exhibit description here.

 

The opening is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130.

Writing Political Poetry with Edwina Trentham

Wednesday, March 25, Wednesdays from 6-8 pm March 25th - April 29th

What can we, as poets, do to respond to a world of suffering and inequality? As Polish poet Adam Zagajewski says, in his poem published in The New Yorker shortly after 9/11, we must "Try to Praise the Mutilated World."¯ In this intensive workshop we will explore the ways in which we can write poetry that offers what Terrence Des Pres called "praises and dispraises,"¯ both glorying in what is right with the world and drawing attention to what must be changed. We will examine two questions"”"what is political poetry?" and "what makes a good political poem""”exploring the challenge of writing poetry that tries to convey a belief, without sliding into preaching. We will read the work of selected modern and contemporary poets, and we will write and revise at least twelve poems"”including out of class assignments and in-class exercises. We will also give a public reading of our work at the end of the course.

Edwina Trentham is Professor Emerita of English at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Connecticut, where she was the founder and editor of the poetry journal, Freshwater. She was also a Visiting Instructor in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at Wesleyan University from 1988 through 2005. She has been a fellow at Yaddo and her work is included in a number of magazines and anthologies. She has given readings and workshops throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Her first book, Stumbling into the Light, was published by Antrim House in 2004, and she was a featured reader at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in June 2005. She won a 2010 Solo Writers Fellowship awarded by the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and her chapbook, Still On This Earth, written with the Solo Fellowship's support, won honorable mention in the 2011 Comstock Review Chapbook Contest. For additional information go to www.antrimhousebooks.com/trentham.html or edwinatrentham.com.

$265. Please all (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28; 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for some winter fun. The Mark Twain House has been featured on Syfy Channel's Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel's My Ghost Story.

On these tours participants will hear all these creepy tales -- and learn about Mark Twain's own interest in the supernatural.

Filled with haunted history, dark tales and Victorian traditions surrounding seances and spiritualism, these nighttime tours are as educational as they are goosebump-inducing.

They sell out fast, so be sure to call 860-280-3130 soon to make your reservations!

The tours are tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT -- Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher; Directed by Ian Belknap; Performed by The Acting Company

Saturday, March 28, 8:00 p.m. at The Hoffman Auditorium, University of St. Joseph, 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford

Legendary actor-director John Houseman founded The Acting Company in 1972 and its alumni have gone on to become a “who’s who” of great American Theatre. 

Lancelot, Guinevere, Merlin and Mark Twain himself (as Hank) come tumbling your way in this satirical tale. Wander with Twain as he time travels from the 19th Century to 6th Century England’s medieval times through the eyes of Hank Morgan of Hartford, Connecticut who, after a blow to the head, awakens to find himself transported back to the time of legendary King Arthur.  Hank astonishes the Middle Age with heroic fireworks, modern medicine and electricity. These tricks from the future initially advance and improve King Arthur’s Court but society ultimately struggles to evolve 1300 years into the future. Mark Twain’s satirical romp exposes the foibles and fortes of both ages leading audiences to question and laugh at themselves and the principles of the 21st Century.

“The Acting Company endures as the major touring classical theater in the United States.” - The New York Times

Part of the Twain on Stage Festival; Support provided by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council and The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

Tickets are $30 / $25 for MTH&M Members / $20 for children and University of St. Joseph Students. Please call (860) 232-5555 or visit www.usj.edu/arts.

Apr

April


BOOK/MARK -- "Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away" with author Rebecca Goldstein

Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 p.m.

Is philosophy obsolete? Are the ancient questions still relevant in the age of cosmology and neuroscience, not to mention crowd-sourcing and cable news? The acclaimed philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein provides a dazzlingly original plunge into the drama of philosophy, revealing its hidden role in today’s debates on religion, morality, politics, and science.
 
At the origin of Western philosophy stands Plato, who got about as much wrong as one would expect from a thinker who lived 2,400 years ago. But Plato’s role in shaping philosophy was pivotal. On her way to considering the place of philosophy in our ongoing intellectual life, Goldstein tells a new story of its origin, re-envisioning the extraordinary culture that produced the man who produced philosophy.
 
But it is primarily the fate of philosophy that concerns her. Is the discipline no more than a way of biding our time until the scientists arrive on the scene? Have they already arrived? Does philosophy itself ever make progress? And if it does, why is so ancient a figure as Plato of any continuing relevance? Plato at the Googleplex is Goldstein’s startling investigation of these conundra. She interweaves her narrative with Plato’s own choice for bringing ideas to life—the dialogue.
 
Imagine that Plato came to life in the twenty-first century and embarked on a multicity speaking tour. How would he handle the host of a cable news program who denies there can be morality without religion?  How would he mediate a debate between a Freudian psychoanalyst and a tiger mom on how to raise the perfect child? How would he answer a neuroscientist who, about to scan Plato’s brain, argues that science has definitively answered the questions of free will and moral agency? What would Plato make of Google, and of the idea that knowledge can be crowd-sourced rather than reasoned out by experts? With a philosopher’s depth and a novelist’s imagination and wit, Goldstein probes the deepest issues confronting us by allowing us to eavesdrop on Plato as he takes on the modern world.

This is a free BOOK/MARK event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

"A Year Without God" with Ryan Bell

Monday, April 6, 7:00 p.m. Co-sponsored with Yale Humanist group

Ryan Bell is a former Seventh-day Adventist pastor who chose to spend 2014 living as an atheist.  He chronicled those 12 months on his blog Year Without God, and at the end of the year, announced in an interview with NPR that he no longer believes in God.

He will discuss with Chris Stedman this year of change in a program sure to be both challenging and fascinating.

Ryan Bell was a pastor for 19 years, most recently the senior pastor of the Hollywood Seventh-day Adventist Church. In March 2013 he resigned his position due to theological and practical differences. As an adjunct professor he has taught subjects ranging from intercultural communication to bioethics. Currently he is a researcher, writer and speaker on the topic of religion and irreligion in America. In January 2014, Ryan began a yearlong journey exploring the limits of theism and the atheist landscape in the United States and blogs about that experience here at Year Without God. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan and a Doctor of Ministry in Missional Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

Chris Stedman is the Executive Director and Coordinator of Humanist Life for the Yale Humanist Community. He is the atheist columnist for Religion News Service, Emeritus Managing Director of State of Formation at the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, and founder of the first blog dedicated to exploring atheist-interfaith engagement, NonProphet Status.

Suggested donation: $10. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: A New Mark Twain Sweetheart

Wednesday, April 8, 5:00 p.m. wine and hors d'oeuvres reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

Kevin Mac Donnell, the renowned independent scholar and collector of Mark Twain, who tends to produce a Twain blockbuster about once a year, unveils 2015’s – a new girlfriend for Mark Twain. Mac Donnell has uncovered documentation that makes it clear that he once had an infatuation – well after the girl he later turned into “Becky Thatcher” and well before his beloved wife Livy – that can be shown to have had a tremendous impact on his life and creativity.

"The Trouble Begins at 5:30" is The Mark Twain House & Museum's popular after-work lecture series on Twainian subjects, held on the second Wednesday of every month other than January and August. The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation and intriguing talks since 2010. It takes its name from Twain's own lecture posters, which were headed "The Trouble Begins at Eight." 


The series is supported by Connecticut Explored magazine, Hot Tomato's restaurant. Big Dollar Liquors of Bristol and The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum. ASL signing for the lectures is provided courtesy of students of the Interpreting 1 Class in Northwestern Connecticut Community College's Interpreter Preparation Program.  

$5.00; call 860-280-3130 to reserve.

The MOuTH: “Thrown for a Loop" –Stories with Twists and Turns

Friday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.

Come hear and tell stories on the theme "Thrown for a Loop--Stories with Twists and Turns" at The Mark Twain House & Museum's wildly popular storytelling series, The MOuTH, with WNPR radio personality Chion Wolf! 

The event is in no way a competition, just storytelling in front of friends in a museum dedicated to Mark Twain, one of our country's best storytellers.

Submissions are now open. Here's how it works: Email HartfordMouth@gmail.com with your name, approximate story length of LESS THAN 10 MINUTES (note - it usually takes longer to tell your story than you think! Tell it a few times to friends, refine it, and time it!), and a short description of what your story is about.

Wolf, along with Jacques Lamarre of the Mark Twain House, will look over the submissions and assemble a lineup. "If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally!" says Wolf. "It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future 'Mouth' event."

There will also be a "Wild Card": Those wanting to tell a short story can put their names in a hat when they arrive, and at some point, a name will be picked. Audio of the event will be recorded.

Chion Wolf, a noted photographer and voice perfomer, joined Colin McEnroe and producer Patrick Skahill to complete the trifecta that has become The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR as the show's announcer and sometimes-sidekick. She can be heard during station breaks many days of the week.

$5.00; to reserve, call 860-280-3130 or here. (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.)

4th Annual Writers' Weekend!

Friday, April 17, through Sunday, April 19

Our Annual Mark Twain House Writers' Weekend is back for our 4th year! This year, our keynote speaker is Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of Devotion and Still Writing. Peek into the inner lives of the region’s best writers; hone your craft with workshops on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and storytelling; learn the publishing industry’s secrets on pitching, agents, and publicity; meet other writers; read your work aloud at our closing event. Tickets available for the whole weekend or just one day. Become at better writer at the home of one of the best writers in American history—it’s a weekend of inspiration and hard work, bound to get you on the right path to the next stage of your writing life.

For reservations, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Humor Writing with Hank Herman

Wednesday, April 29, Wednesdays from 6-8 pm April 29th - June 3

A sage once said, “There’s a difference between humor writing and writing humorously.” Oh, wait — that was me. The point is, humor writing — think Woody Allen, Tina Fey, Steve Martin, where every sentence is intended to be a laugh riot — yes, that’s hard. And probably can’t be taught. But writing humorously — self-deprecating admissions about your own foibles; poking good-natured fun at irresistible targets in pop culture; exaggerating outrageously; confiding hair-raising tales of the blind date gone bad; zeroing in on off-beat behavior that nobody talks about but, it turns out, everybody does — these are all within every writer’s reach. In this course students will take their best shot at funny-side up writing in essays, columns, blogs, memoir . . . or whatever genre tickles their fancy.

Hank Herman’s acclaimed memoir, Accept My Kid, Please! A Dad’s Descent Into College Application Hell, has led to speaking engagements throughout the Northeast. His award-winning humor column, “The Home Team,” has been running for over 20 years, and is still going strong.  Hank also co-writes the Hearst Newspapers blog “Beagle Man,” alternating posts with his dog, Ricky the Beagle.  The blog doubles as as a hilarious travelogue when Hank and Ricky hit the road every September for their great adventure: a one-month-long cross-country road trip!  With no offense intended to his own three sons, Hank considers Ricky his fourth.  Hank also leads writing workshops at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and at Trinity College and Norwalk Community College.

$265. Please call (86) 280-3130 or click here.

May

May


Book/Mark: "The Two State Delusion - A Tale of Israel and Palestine" with author Padraig O'Malley

Wednesday, May 6, 7:00 p.m.

A leading reconciliation expert argues that a two-state solution is no longer a viable path to create lasting peace in Israel and Palestine

Disputes over settlements, the right of return, the rise of Hamas, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and other intractable issues have repeatedly derailed peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

Now, in a book that is sure to spark controversy, renowned peacemaker Padraig O’Malley argues that the moment for a two-state solution has passed. After examining each issue and speaking with Palestinians and Israelis as well as negotiators directly involved in past summits, O’Malley concludes that even if such an agreement could be reached, it would be nearly impossible to implement given the staggering costs, Palestine’s political disunity and the viability of its economy, rapidly changing demographics, Israel’s continuing political shift to the right, global warming’s effect on the water supply, and more.

In this revelatory, hard-hitting book, O’Malley approaches the key issues pragmatically, without ideological bias, to show that we must find new frameworks for reconciliation if there is to be lasting peace between Palestine and Israel.

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130.

Self-Publishing with Patrice Fitzgerald

Wednesday, May 6, Wednesdays from 6 - 8 pm, May 6 - May 27

Tired of waiting—waiting to hear from agents, editors, and publishers—as you jump through hoops hoping to get your work traditionally published?  An exciting new alternative is to dive in and publish yourself.  This course will take you through the steps for putting your writing out there NOW.  We’ll talk about editing, formatting, and choosing a cover, and conclude by actually pushing the button and publishing your story on Amazon. Ideally, participants will have a short story, novel, or other work ready to go.  If not, you can simply publish a “test book” to learn how.

Patrice Fitzgerald is a best-selling indie author, publisher, and attorney.  She began self-publishing on Independence Day in 2011.  Her ebooks and those of authors she publishes have reached the top 100 out of the millions of books sold by Amazon.

$200.

Writing From Found Texts with Yelizaveta P. Renfro

Wednesday, May 6, Wednesdays 6-8 pm, May 6 - May 27

From to-do lists to diary entries, from recipes to photographs, from PowerPoint presentations to maps, non-literary texts—or “found texts”—are often central in shaping fiction and creative nonfiction pieces. Found texts, any texts whose original purpose is in some way expanded, built upon, or transformed to take on the new purpose of creating a literary text, are ubiquitous in contemporary prose. In A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan writes a whole chapter as a PowerPoint presentation. Lorrie Moore in many of her pieces adopts the “how to” guide. Douglas Coupland inserts emails, advertising, labels, and other fragments of daily texts into his work. Laura Esquivel uses recipes to frame her novel Like Water for Chocolate. A whole anthology, Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, "Found" Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts, was published in 2012. In this workshop, we will read these and a number of other writers of fiction and nonfiction who make use of found texts in their work, and we will also explore the potential of using found texts in our own writing projects. We will engage in a series of short writing exercises working with a variety of texts, including advertisements, to-do lists, emails, recipe collections and menus, historical documents, social media texts, timelines, and diaries, examining how such texts can influence both the form and content of our work. At the culmination of the workshop writers will develop their own independent projects based on one or more found texts. 

Yelizaveta P. Renfro is the author of a collection of essays, Xylotheque, available from the University of New Mexico Press, and a collection of short stories, A Catalogue of Everything in the World, winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, North American Review, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, South Dakota Review, Witness, Reader’s Digest, Blue Mesa Review, Parcel, Adanna, Fourth River, Bayou Magazine, Untamed Ink, So to Speak, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from George Mason University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska.

$200.

Fiction Writing with Susan Schoenberger

Wednesday, May 6, May 6 - June 10, 6 pm - 8 pm

Writing fiction is like constructing a house, and if you don't know your torque wrench from your circular saw, it's likely to fall down. This hands-on six-week class will examine the tools necessary to build a great short story, novella or novel, from point of view to character development to story arc. We'll also have time to share works in progress for constructive feedback and to talk about the wide variety of publishing options available today.

Susan Schoenberger is a writer and editor who lives in West Hartford with her husband and three (almost-grown) children. A Watershed Year, which won the gold medal in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, is her first novel. Her second novel, The Virtues of Oxygen, is due from Lake Union Publishing in July. Her short stories have appeared in Inkwell, Village Rambler, and Bartlebysnopes.com, among others. A longtime journalist, Susan has worked for the Baltimore Sun, the Hartford Courant and many other newspapers and online publications. She is now the director of communications at Hartford Seminary.

$265.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Mark Twain's Other Woman

Wednesday, May 13, 5:00 p.m. wine and hors d\'oeuvres reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

Continuing in our "Trouble Begins" series in the vein of Clemens’ relationships with women, we explore a highly controversial one.

Scholar Marie Lavendier  will speak on Isabel Lyon, Clemens’ secretary in his final years, after the death of Livy.  Lyon at one time held power of attorney for Twain and has been referred to as Mark Twain's surrogate wife – but their relationship ended in a bitter split a year before the author’s death.

Lyon was written out of his official biography.

Marie Lavendier is a lecturer at Tunxis Community College and lives in Lyon's former home in Farmington. 

"The Trouble Begins at 5:30" is The Mark Twain House & Museum's popular after-work lecture series on Twainian subjects, held on the second Wednesday of every month other than January and August. The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation and intriguing talks since 2010. It takes its name from Twain's own lecture posters, which were headed "The Trouble Begins at Eight." 


The series is supported by Connecticut Explored magazine, Hot Tomato's restaurant. Big Dollar Liquors of Bristol and The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum. ASL signing for the lectures is provided courtesy of students of the Interpreting 1 Class in Northwestern Connecticut Community College's Interpreter Preparation Program.  

$5.00; reserve at 860-280-3130

Jun

June


Tom Sawyer Day: Tom Sawyer Abroad

Saturday, June 6, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Our annual, family-friendly Tom Sawyer Day

The free event will include crafts and fun activities for the whole family!

Discount tours of the Mark Twain House will be available at $10 for adults and seniors and $5 for children.

 

Free!

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Mark Twain and the Jaffa Colony

Wednesday, June 10, 5:00 p.m. wine and hors d\'oeuvres reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

Henry Cohn, the Superior Court judge, legal historian and Twain aficionado from West Hartford, will speak on the Jaffa Colony, an extraordinary settlement of Protestant Christians set up in Twain’s era in what is now Israel.

Led by a controversial and charismatic preacher, they believed they could hasten the Second Coming of Christ by encouraging Jewish resettlement of Palestine.

But the venture failed, and in his travel book The Innocents Abroad, Twain described his encounter with 40 colonists who boarded his ship at Jaffa, in a bid to escape to Egypt. The colony, Twain wrote, was "a complete fiasco."

"The Trouble Begins at 5:30" is The Mark Twain House & Museum's popular after-work lecture series on Twainian subjects, held on the second Wednesday of every month other than January and August. The series has offered good food and drink, good conversation and intriguing talks since 2010. It takes its name from Twain's own lecture posters, which were headed "The Trouble Begins at Eight." 


The series is supported by Connecticut Explored magazine, Hot Tomato's restaurant. Big Dollar Liquors of Bristol and The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum. ASL signing for the lectures is provided courtesy of students of the Interpreting 1 Class in Northwestern Connecticut Community College's Interpreter Preparation Program.  

$5.00; reserve at 860-280-3130

Nook Farm Author Talk - "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell's America" with Jane Allen Petrick

Wednesday, June 17, 7:00 p.m. at the Mark Twain House Museum Center

Norman Rockwell's America was not all white. As early as 1936, Rockwell was portraying people of color with empathy and a dignity often denied them at the time. And he created these portraits from live models.

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell's America unfolds, for the first time, the stories of the Asian, African, and Native Americans who modeled for Norman Rockwell. These people of color, though often hidden in plain sight, are present throughout Rockwell's more than 4000 illustrations. People like the John Lane family, Navajos poignantly depicted in the virtually unknown Norman Rockwell painting, "Glen Canyon Dam." People like Isaac Crawford, a ten year old African-American Boy Scout who helped Norman Rockwell finally integrate the Boy Scout calendar.

In this engrossing and often humorous narrative, Jane Allen Petrick explores what motivated Norman Rockwell to slip people of color "into the picture" in the first place. And in so doing, she persuasively documents the famous illustrator's deep commitment to and pointed portrayals of ethnic tolerance, portrayals that up to now have been, as Norman Rockwell biographer Laura Claridge so clearly put it, "bizarrely neglected".

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell's America is an eye opener for everyone who loves Norman Rockwell, everyone who hates Norman Rockwell, and for all those people who never thought much about Norman Rockwell because they believed Norman Rockwell never thought much about them. This book will expand the way you think about Norman Rockwell. And it will deepen the way you think about Norman Rockwell's America.

Presented in conjunction with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

This is a free event. Reservations are recommended. Please call (860) 280-3130.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf--“On Vacation - Stories about what went down when you put your feet up”

Friday, June 19, 7:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf.

The event is in no way a competition, just storytelling in front of friends in a museum dedicated to Mark Twain, one of our country's best storytellers.

Submissions are now open. Here's how it works: Email HartfordMouth@gmail.com with your name, approximate story length of LESS THAN 10 MINUTES (note - it usually takes longer to tell your story than you think! Tell it a few times to friends, refine it, and time it!), and a short description of what your story is about.

Wolf, along with Jacques Lamarre of the Mark Twain House, will look over the submissions and assemble a lineup. "If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally!" says Wolf. "It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future 'Mouth' event."

There will also be a "Wild Card": Those wanting to tell a short story can put their names in a hat when they arrive, and at some point, a name will be picked. Audio of the event will be recorded.

Chion Wolf, a noted photographer and voice performer, joined Colin McEnroe and producer Patrick Skahill to complete the trifecta that has become The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR as the show's announcer and sometimes-sidekick. She can be heard during station breaks many days of the week.

$5.00 (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.) Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27; 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for some summer fun. The Mark Twain House has been featured on Syfy Channel's Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel's My Ghost Story.

On these tours participants will hear about these investigations -- and learn about Mark Twain's own interest in the supernatural.

Filled with haunted history, dark tales and Victorian traditions surrounding seances and spiritualism, these nighttime tours are as educational as they are goosebump-inducing.

They sell out fast, so be sure to call soon to make your reservations!

The tours are tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

Tours are $22 for adults, $17 for members, and $15 for children. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Jul

July


Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25; 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for some summer fun. The Mark Twain House has been featured on Syfy Channel's Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel's My Ghost Story.

On these tours participants will hear about these investigations -- and learn about Mark Twain's own interest in the supernatural.

Filled with haunted history, dark tales and Victorian traditions surrounding seances and spiritualism, these nighttime tours are as educational as they are goosebump-inducing.

They sell out fast, so be sure to call soon to make your reservations!

The tours are tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

Tickets are $22 for adults, $17 for members, and $15 for children. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Jump Start Your Novel with Mary Sharnick

Monday, July 27, July 27 - 30, 6 - 8 pm

Workshop participants will initiate plot and character development simultaneously by crafting a first chapter for their proposed novels.
Referencing some effective opening chapters from already-published works, class members will identify the pivotal action and primary desire of each piece's protagonist. Doing so will afford useful illustrations for beginning their own works.

Winner of a Beatrice Fox Auerbach Solo Writer's Fellowship, a Wesleyan Writers' Conference Scholarship, and two Nigel Taplin Innovative Teaching Grants, Mary has had numerous opportunities to research in Venice, Italy, for two historical novels. The first, THIRST (Fireship Press, 2012), is presently being adapted for the operatic stage by composer Gerard Chiusano and librettists Mary Noonan-Chiusano and Robert Cutrofello. The second, PLAGUED (Fireship Press, 2014), is the first of The Michael of Rhodes Series. At present, Mary is drafting its sequel, FORTY DAYS. Mary has presented at Yale Writers' Conference, the Italian American Studies Association 48th annual conference in Toronto, Auburn (AL) Writers' Conference, UCONN's Osher Center for Lifetime Learning, and at numerous libraries and schools. Mary's shorter works have appeared in Southern Humanities Review, New York Journal of Books, America, Italian Americana, American Journal of Alzheimer's and Other Dementias, and Healing Ministry, among others. Mary teaches writing and chairs the English Department at Chase Collegiate School, Waterbury, CT. She leads her writing students on bi-annual trips to Italy, the country she considers her second home.

$180.

Writing for the Real World with Christine Palm

Monday, July 27, July 27 - 30, 6 - 8 pm

Throughout our lives, we are called upon to write something for a certain public occasion. Most of us dread this duty, which we execute out of respect for the person asking us, rather than out of any real joy of writing. Perhaps we are driven to protest an event in the news, but don’t know how to begin. Often, it can be the sad occasion of a loved one’s death, when an obituary is needed. Such public expressions can be intimidating, and, in the case of a crisis, stressful. In Writing for the Real World, students will explore such writing challenges as obituary, eulogy, wedding or anniversary toast, protest manifesto, testimony for a public hearing, op-ed, letter-to-the-editor, and perhaps even a piece to place in a family “time capsule” for future generations. 

Christine Palm recently completed a teacher's guide and film series entitled "What the Dead Know: Bringing to Young Audiences the Poetry of Six Modernists Buried in New England." She has taught creative writing, poetry, grammar and film studies at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, and taught in Kent School's summer workshop for young writers. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in essay writing, published a chapbook with Finishing Line Press entitled Preparing the Ground, and currently serves as communications director for the Connecticut General Assembly's Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. 

$180.

Our Ice Cream Social!

Thursday, July 30, 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

I scream, you scream, line up for ice cream, as The Mark Twain House & Museum invites the neighbors in for its 7th annual free Ice Cream Social on the patio.

Enjoy free dish ice cream and sundaes whipped up by The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum, plus music and more!

 

This is a free event!

Aug

August


Playwriting Monologues with Sarah Moon

Monday, August 3, August 3-6, 6 - 8 pm

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Beginning Middle End with Melanie Faranello

Monday, August 3, August 3-6, 6-8 pm

We will work together to write our own short stories from beginning to middle to end, while focusing on various elements of fiction including plot, structure, point of view, characterization, and dialogue. Each class will be a combination of in-class writing to produce material as well as presentation and discussion on various aspects of craft.

Melanie P Faranello received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received various mentions including winner of The New School Chapbook Award Series in Fiction and a top twenty-five winner in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Contest. Her novel manuscript was a top finalist in Sarabande Books’ Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and a semi-finalist in The Dana Awards for The Novel and in Whidbey Emerging Writers’ Contest. Her work has been published in Fifth Wednesday Journal, Requited Journal, Ampersand Review, Literary Mama, Emerge Literary Journal, among others. She was awarded an artist residency from The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and has taught creative writing, composition, English, and literature for over ten years in Chicago, New York, and Ecuador. Originally from Chicago, she currently lives in Connecticut with her family.

$180.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, August 28, and Saturday, August 29, 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for summer chills. The Mark Twain House has been featured on Syfy Channel's Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel's My Ghost Story.

On these tours participants will hear about these investigations -- and learn about Mark Twain's own interest in the supernatural.

Filled with haunted history, dark tales and Victorian traditions surrounding seances and spiritualism, these nighttime tours are as educational as they are goosebump-inducing.

They sell out fast, so be sure to call soon to make your reservations!

The tours are tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

$22 with discounts available for members and children. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing or click here.

Sep

September


Writing the Land with Christine Palm

Wednesday, September 2, Sept 2nd - Oct 7th, 6- 8 pm

Students will write about place using multiple genres. This class will expose students to various genres: poetry, memoir, short fiction, creative non-fiction, narrative, humor and dramatic scene, to name a few possibilities. The idea is to give students a chance to “sample” several genres to see what form best suits their own voice, and best conveys their thoughts. Students will stretch their ability to see, to recall, to describe. (We can, perhaps, play with chronology, but students will focus on the same place in each piece they write.) In this way, the writers will see how form shapes their perception of the place, and informs how they say what they want to say. 

Christine Palm recently completed a teacher's guide and film series entitled "What the Dead Know: Bringing to Young Audiences the Poetry of Six Modernists Buried in New England." She has taught creative writing, poetry, grammar and film studies at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, and taught in Kent School's summer workshop for young writers. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in essay writing, published a chapbook with Finishing Line Press entitled Preparing the Ground, and currently serves as communications director for the Connecticut General Assembly's Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. 

$265.

Fiction with Melanie Faranello

Wednesday, September 2, Sept 2nd - Oct 7th, 6- 8 pm

This class will combine craft talks on various elements of fiction writing including plot, structure, point of view, characterization, and dialogue along with in-class writing exercises for the first part of each session. The second half of each session will be dedicated to discussing participants’ own short story drafts. Participants’ manuscripts will be distributed to the class for constructive critiques and discussions each week.  

Melanie P Faranello received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received various mentions including winner of The New School Chapbook Award Series in Fiction and a top twenty-five winner in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Contest. Her novel manuscript was a top finalist in Sarabande Books’ Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and a semi-finalist in The Dana Awards for The Novel and in Whidbey Emerging Writers’ Contest. Her work has been published in Fifth Wednesday Journal, Requited Journal, Ampersand Review, Literary Mama, Emerge Literary Journal, among others. She was awarded an artist residency from The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and has taught creative writing, composition, English, and literature for over ten years in Chicago, New York, and Ecuador. Originally from Chicago, she currently lives in Connecticut with her family.

$265.

Nonfiction with Susan Campbell

Wednesday, September 2, Sept 2nd - Oct 7th, 6- 8 pm

Our grandmas all told us to tell the truth -- but they didn't say we had to be boring about it. You CAN write non-fiction in an entertaining and enlightening way. Susan Campbell is an award-winning author of "Dating Jesus," and the biography, "Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker." She was born in Kentucky and raised in southwest Missouri. She's worked at newspapers in Missouri, Kansas, Maryland, and Connecticut. For more than a quarter-century, she was a columnist at the Hartford Courant, where her work was recognized by the National Women's Political Caucus, New England Associated Press News Executives, the Society for Professional Journalists, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the Sunday Magazine Editors Association. Her column about the shootings at lottery headquarters in March 1998 was part of The Courant's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage. The mother of two adult sons, and the grandmother of seven, she has a bachelor's degree from University of Maryland, and a master's degree from Hartford Seminary, and she lives in Connecticut with her husband.

$265.

Storytelling with Matthew Dicks

Wednesday, September 2, Sept 2nd - Oct 7th, 6- 8 pm

Speak Up co-founder and 16-time Moth StorySLAM champion Matthew Dicks teaches an intensive, six week long workshop on the art of storytelling. This is a workshop designed for people with little or no previous storytelling experience and seeks to meet the goals of a wide range of participants. While many of our workshop graduates have gone on to tell stories on stage for Speak Up, The Moth, and other storytelling organizations, most students take this beginner-level workshop with no desire to ever take the stage. People want to learn about storytelling for personal and professional development, to meet new people, to improve communication skills, to develop their writing ability, to challenge themselves, to finally get the attention of grandchildren and colleagues, and to try something new.

Included in this workshop will be:

·         Methods for generating ideas for stories from your life experiences (you have more stories than you realize!)

·         Games designed to generate new story ideas, develop the ability to speak extemporaneously, and apply the skills taught in the class

·         Structuring an effective story

·         The force of gravity in a story

·         Development of humor

·         Development of suspense

·         Performance techniques

·         The 17 Most Important Rules of Storytelling

In addition to the modeling of stories, direct instruction, and interactive components, participants will be invited to (but not required to) develop a story of their own that will be presented to the class for critique.

Matthew Dicks is the author of the novels Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Something Missing and Unexpectedly, Milo, and the upcoming The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs. His novels have been translated into more than 25 languages worldwide, and his most recent is an international bestseller. He is also the author of the rock opera The Clowns and the musical Caught in the Middle. He is a columnist for Seasons magazine and has published work in The Hartford Courant, The Huffington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor. When not hunched over a computer screen, he fills his days as an elementary school teacher, a storyteller, a blogger, a wedding DJ, a minister, a life coach, and a Lord of Sealand. He is a former West Hartford Teacher of the Year and a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year.

Matthew is a 16-time Moth StorySLAM champion and GrandSLAM champion whose stories have been featured on their nationally syndicated Moth Radio Hour and their weekly podcast. He has also told stories for The American Life, TED, The Story Collider, The Liar Show, Literary Death Match, The Mouth, and others. He is the co-founder and producer of Speak Up, a Hartford-based storytelling organization.  

$265.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf -- “Caught in the Act - Stories about not getting away with it”

Friday, September 18, 7:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf.

The event is in no way a competition, just storytelling in front of friends in a museum dedicated to Mark Twain, one of our country's best storytellers.

Submissions are now open. Here's how it works: Email HartfordMouth@gmail.com with your name, approximate story length of LESS THAN 10 MINUTES (note - it usually takes longer to tell your story than you think! Tell it a few times to friends, refine it, and time it!), and a short description of what your story is about.

Wolf, along with Jacques Lamarre of the Mark Twain House, will look over the submissions and assemble a lineup. "If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally!" says Wolf. "It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future 'Mouth' event."

There will also be a "Wild Card": Those wanting to tell a short story can put their names in a hat when they arrive, and at some point, a name will be picked. Audio of the event will be recorded.

Chion Wolf, a noted photographer and voice performer, joined Colin McEnroe and producer Patrick Skahill to complete the trifecta that has become The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR as the show's announcer and sometimes-sidekick. She can be heard during station breaks many days of the week.

$5.00 (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.) Call (860) 280-3130 or here.

Oct

October


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Nov

November


The MOuTH with Chion Wolf -- “You Animal! Stories about encounters with beasts, both foreign and domestic”

Friday, November 20, 7:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf.

The event is in no way a competition, just storytelling in front of friends in a museum dedicated to Mark Twain, one of our country's best storytellers.

Submissions are now open. Here's how it works: Email HartfordMouth@gmail.com with your name, approximate story length of LESS THAN 10 MINUTES (note - it usually takes longer to tell your story than you think! Tell it a few times to friends, refine it, and time it!), and a short description of what your story is about.

Wolf, along with Jacques Lamarre of the Mark Twain House, will look over the submissions and assemble a lineup. "If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally!" says Wolf. "It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future 'Mouth' event."

There will also be a "Wild Card": Those wanting to tell a short story can put their names in a hat when they arrive, and at some point, a name will be picked. Audio of the event will be recorded.

Chion Wolf, a noted photographer and voice performer, joined Colin McEnroe and producer Patrick Skahill to complete the trifecta that has become The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR as the show's announcer and sometimes-sidekick. She can be heard during station breaks many days of the week.

$5.00 (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.) Call (860) 280-3130 or here.

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