Events & Programs

2014: 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.

Jan

January


GET A CLUE Tours!

Saturday, January 18, Tours step off every 15 minutes beginning at 7 p.m. Reservations required.

Who killed that varmint Pap Finn??? 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.

$20 with discounts available for children. Call (860) 280-3130. Or, click HERE for tickets.

Tom Lee, Storyteller--PRINCE RING: A Winter Solstice Fairytale from Iceland (A Special Program for Families)

Sunday, January 19, 2:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is excited to present another Sunday afternoon storytelling session with Master Storyteller Tom Lee. On Sunday, January 19th at 2 pm, Tom will be sharing the fun and adventurous story of Prince Ring: An Adventurous Fairytale from Iceland.

This special holiday season story is appropriate for children ages 7 and up.

Just in time for the winter solstice, when nights are longest and magic is strongest, Tom shares a rollicking adventure from Iceland. The hero is a reluctant Prince on a quest for a ring who ends up searching for a king, running into a giant (who gifts him with a mysterious dog), and has to fight troll hags who have stolen the king's treasures.

This folk tale is over 500 years old, but still captivates listeners with all the adventure, fantasy and magic that a blockbuster movie does.

Here is some audience feedback from a recent storytelling appearance by Tom: "Very intimate setting, very gripping performer." "Totally captivating." "Different and entertaining." "Very engaging speaker, fascinating stories." "Tom is a masterful storyteller...I'm happy to be surprised!"

Tickets - $15; $6 for children 16 and under. For reservations, please call (860) 280-3130. Or, click HERE for tickets.

Free Day for Hartford residents

Monday, January 20, 9:30-5:30

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 20, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. Bring along proof of residency, and take that long-planned tour of Mark Twain's House! We're open 9:30-5:30; last tour at 4:30.

Free for Hartford residents

New Exhibition: 'Stagecraft: 50 Years of Design at Hartford Stage'

Tuesday, January 21, through March 5

In celebration of Hartford Stage's 50th Anniversary Season, The Mark Twain House & Museum will be the site for the exhibition "Stagecraft: 50 Years of Design at Hartford Stage," from January 21 to March 5.

"Stagecraft" consists of a selection of costumes, props and scenic elements from the company's extensive collection, and will be on display in Hal Holbrook Hall at The Mark Twain House & Museum.

A hallmark of the theater is the quality of the work that appears on stage for its famed productions, all of which is built or made in Hartford.

Project Curator for the exhibit is Jessica Palmer and Art Director is Taylor Benedum.

Free with museum admission.

Nook Farm Book Talk: 12 YEARS A SLAVE at Stowe

Wednesday, January 22, 5:00 pm reception. 5:30 p.m. discussion at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

"Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana" is a memoir and slave narrative. Northrup was an African American born free in New York State, kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery, and kept in bondage for 12 years before the American Civil War. He provided details of slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, as well as described at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana. Published soon after Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," Northup's book sold 30,000 copies and was considered a bestseller. Northrup's facts supported Stowe's fictional narrative in detail, as the area where Northup was enslaved was close to the fictional setting of Simon Legree's plantation on the Red River, where much of Stowe's narrative takes place. They are also similar in structure of the arguments against slavery. The similarities raise important questions of just how much the narrative was shaped by "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and other antislavery literature. Nook Farm Book Talks are an informal conversation presented jointly by The Mark Twain House & Museum and Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

FREE!

"Freshly Squeezed with Colin McEnroe" at Watkinson School presents The Healing Power of Music

Wednesday, January 22, 7:00 p.m.

Music therapy recently came out of the shadows when it helped Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords recover from her gunshot wound, but the ideas behind it are older and are being used for patients with missing limbs, muscular dystrophy, brain injuries, dementia and autism. McEnroe has assembled an incredible evening"part discussion, part concert, including musicians Kate Callahan and Jim Chapdelaine"each survivors of major medical trauma but with very different stories to tell; author Sarah Raskin, a Trinity College Professor who has published two books and numerous articles on treatment techniques for people with brain injury; and music therapist Emily Bevelaqua. Get your tickets today for this intimate and entertaining series held at and presented by Watkinson School.

Tickets are $15. Click here to purchase them. All of the profit from ticket sales benefits the education programs of three shining Hartford institutions: Billings Forge Community Works, Hartford Stage and The Mark Twain House & Museum.

The Mark Twain House & Museum Annual Meeting

Thursday, January 23, (snow date Friday, Jan. 24), 6:30 p.m.

The museum's annual meeting invites its valued members to hear Education Program Manager Craig Hotchkiss speak on "Mark Twain's Business Axiom" in a special lecture. A reception will follow Mr. Hotchkiss's talk. If weather is inclement, check www.marktwainhouse.org or call 860-247-0998, Ext. 142.

Free event for members. Please call 860-280-3112 or click here to join.

COLT: The Revolver of the American West with author Jeffrey Richardson

Thursday, January 30, 6:00 p.m. reception; 7:00 p.m. talk

Jeffrey Richardson, firearm curator of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles and author of COLT: The Revolver of the American West, will discuss this new book and Colt's connections to Hartford.

A reception at 6:00 p.m., catered by the Colt Cafe and sponsored by Colt's Manufacturing Company, LLC, will precede the lecture.

The Colt revolver "won the West" by being the handgun of choice on the American frontier, used by everyone from settlers and Native Americans to law-enforcement officers and outlaws.

In COLT: The Revolver of the American West, Richardson has selected the musuem's 100 most important examples to document and celebrate the history of Samuel Colt's revolutionary invention.

Richardson is the Gamble Curator of Western History, Popular Culture, and Firearms at the Autry National Center. An authority on firearms, he specializes in American cultural history, with an emphasis on the motion-picture genre. He has appeared as an expert commentator on numerous programs, including Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Midway USA's Gun Stories, and History Detectives.

The Autry National Center in Los Angeles is a history museum that uses art, artifacts, exhibitions, and programs to bring together the stories of the American West, connecting the past with the present to inspire the future. For more information, please visit www.theautry.org.

This is a free event. A book signing with the author will follow.

This event is being presented in conjunction with the Mark Twain House & Museum's current exhibit "An Inglorious Peace or A Dishonorable War : Mark Twain's Views on Conflict".

Feb

February


PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk Speaks

Tuesday, February 11, 7:00 p.m.

Mark Twain was an animal lover and was steadfastly against the vivisection of animals. The Mark Twain House & Museum welcomes passionated and controversial animal rights activist Ingrid Newkirk, author and the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She is best known for the animal rights awareness campaigns she organizes on behalf of PETA, which she cofounded in 1980.

$25; $20 for museum members. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30! "Mark Twain and Scrapbooking" With Ellen Gruber Garvey

Wednesday, February 12, 5:00 p.m. reception; The Trouble Begins at 5:30 p.m.

Ellen Gruber Garvey, the author of "Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance" tells how the proliferating cheap press touched the lives of activists, mourning parents, and all who yearned for a place in history, and how scrapbooks underlie our present-day ways of thinking about information, news, and what we do with it. Mark Twain was a lifelong creator and keeper of scrapbooks. In fact, in 1873 he invented and patented the "self-pasting" scrap book. It was the only one of Mark Twains inventions to make money!

This is a Free Event!

Social Media for Writers: A Workshop with Caitlin Thayer

Saturday, February 15, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Writers should be naturals at using social media, right? Well, not necessarily. Every writer is a master at their craft, but social media is a different kind of art. This workshop will explain how different social media platforms can help writers 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!

Caitlin Thayer is the owner of Barefoot Media and has been using social media since 2003. She has helped various non-profits and businesses in the Hartford community learn how to use social media effectively to build and support their community-- current and past clients include Hartford Public Library, United Way, The iQuilt Plan and more. Caitlin was recently named a Hartford Business Journal 40 Under 40 winner, and has been featured in Hartford Magazine as "Hartford County's Young Achievers" and in an article about Young Entrepreneurs.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

The Big Book Getaway at Mohegan Sun!

Friday, February 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22

It's a literary weekend that includes the likes of Debbie Macomber, Sarah Addison Allen, P.J. O'Rourke, Pete Hamill, Eloisa James, Charlotte Rogan and even Dr. Ruth Westheimer. It's the perfect event for anyone who loves books and the joys of literature.

The Big Book Getaway will be held at the fabulous Mohegan Sun Resort on February 21-22, 2014. Escape to this fabulous venue, converge with other book lovers and meet celebrated authors.There will be panel discussions on genres including romance, biography, military, fiction, theater, travel, cooking, memoir, spiritualism and history. Come and enjoy fun experiences including gaming, virtual travel, spa services, nightlife, shopping, and dining.

For more information, visit the Big Book Getaway website. Click here.

Some of the lively panels for this Friday evening-Saturday event:

Steamy Stories - Bestselling Romance and Erotica featuring Eloisa James, Shannon Stacey, Cathy Maxwell and Lisa Gabriele

A Hero's Tale - Military Memoirs and Biographies featuring Artis Henderson, Jason "Jay" Redman, Jim DeFelice and Captain Glenn Sulmasy

Novel Ideas - Male Authors in Journalism and Fiction featuring Norb Vonnegut, Pete Hamill, and David Handler

Magical Fiction - Spirits, Mystery & Wonderment featuring Sarah Addison Allen and Suzanne Palmieri (Hayes)

The Way We Were - Historical Fiction featuring Charlotte Rogan, Stephanie Lehman, and Heather Webb

Kiss and Tell - Harlequin Romance Authors featuring Kristan Higgins, Shannon Stacey, Natalie Charles and Kristine Rolofson

Telling My Truth - Memoir and the Self featuring Brando Skyhorse, Karen Dietrich, Mellini Kantayya and Diane Smith

Delicious Writing - Books with Food featuring Giulia Melucci, Jessica Soffer and Suzan Colón

On Water and Relationships - River Journeys featuring David "Bugsy" Morine, Joseph Monninger and Dr. Cindy Lovell

For pricing information, visit the Big Book Getaway website. For more information, visit the Big Book Getaway website. Click here.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, February 21, and Saturday, February 22, 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.

"Confronting Urban Legacy: Rediscovering Hartford and New England's Forgotten Cities" author talk

Tuesday, February 25, 5:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center are pleased to present Xiangming Chen, Tom Condon, and Nick Bacon in a panel to discuss a new book on Harford, Confronting Urban Legacy: Rediscovering Hartford and New England's Forgotten Cities (Lexington Books, 2013). This free talk takes place on Tuesday, February 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Mark Twain House and Museum Visitor's Center, and a book sale and signing will follow the event.

"Confronting Urban Legacy" fills a critical gap in urban scholarship. Since most of the literature focuses on large cities, smaller cities--which actually hold the majority of the world's population--are either misunderstood or not examined at all. As there is little research on smaller New England cities, this book specifically explores the changing relationship between globalization and urban transition in Hartford, Connecticut.

Hartford's transformation carries a striking imprint of globalization that has been largely missed: from its 17th century roots as New England's first inland colonial settlement, to its emergence as one of the world's most prosperous manufacturing and insurance centers, to its present configuration as one of America's poorest post-industrial cities, surrounded by one of the nation's wealthiest metropolitan regions.

In this insightful discussion, we hope to address the question of "what is Hartford's role as a challenged smaller city in the international fields of culture, thought, finance, and industy."

"Despite their global impact, so-called secondary cities like Hartford have been largely overlooked in academic circles. Confronting Urban Legacy is a bold and welcome break from this tradition, focusing not only on these cities' own fortunes but their context within the cultural and economic shifts of the past four centuries." - Pedro Segarra, Mayor of Hartford

Xiangming Chen, lead editor of Confronting Urban Legacy, is the founding dean and director of the Center for Urban and Global Studies and Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Global Urban Studies and Sociology at Trinity College. He has published extensively on urbanization and globalization with a focus on China and Asia.

Tom Condon, a contributor to Confronting Urban Legacy, is a deputy editorial page editor, columnist, and editor of "Place," a Sunday Commentary section of The Hartford Courant, which focuses on architecture, planning, transportation, and other aspects of the built and natural environment.

Nick Bacon, co-editor of Confronting Urban Legacy, graduated from Trinity College in 2010 and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center, and a Graduate Teaching Fellow at Lehman College, where he teaches courses in anthropology and urban studies.

This is free event. Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130.

Nook Farm Book Talk: THE BLACK RUSSIAN with author Vladimir Alexandrov

Wednesday, February 26, 5:00 p.m. reception/5:30 p.m. discussion at Twain

NOTE: This event was postponed from February 5.

"The Black Russian" is the incredible story of Frederick Bruce Thomas, born in 1872 to former slaves who became prosperous farmers in Mississippi. A rich white planter's attempt to steal their land forced them to flee to Memphis, where Frederick's father was brutally murdered. After leaving the South and working as a waiter and valet in Chicago and Brooklyn, Frederick sought greater freedom in London, then crisscrossed Europe, and"in a highly unusual choice for a black American at the time"went to Russia in 1899. Because he found no color line there, Frederick made Moscow his home. He renamed himself Fyodor Fyodorovich Tomas, married twice, acquired a mistress, and took Russian citizenship. Through his hard work, charm, and guile he became one of the city's richest and most famous owners of variety theaters and restaurants. The Bolshevik Revolution ruined him, and he barely escaped with his life and family to Constantinople in 1919. Starting from scratch, he made a second fortune by opening celebrated nightclubs that introduced jazz to Turkey. However, the long arm of American racism, the xenophobia of the new Turkish Republic, and Frederick's own extravagance landed him in debtor's prison. He died in Constantinople in 1928.

Join Yale professor and "The Black Russian Author" Vladimir Alexandrov for a fascinating discussion about this unforgettable character.

Nook Farm Book Talks are an informal conversation presented jointly by The Mark Twain House & Museum and Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

FREE

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT! 12 YEARS A SLAVE: Screening and Post-Film Discussion

Thursday, February 27, Reception at 5:30 p.m., film at 6:00 p.m. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with luminaries in the field of film and history.

PLEASE NOTE: This screening, discussion, and reception takes place at the Wadsworth Atheneum, 600 Main Street, Hartford.

"12 Years A Slave," Solomon Northup, a free Black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. 2013. USA. 134 min. Rated R. Directed by Steve McQueen. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender. Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture. Nine Academy Award Nominations including Best Picture.

Panelists: Lois Brown, Professor of English and African American Studies at Wesleyan University; Erik Clemons, CEO & President of CT Center for Arts & Technology; Barbara Krauthamer, Associate Professor of History at UMASS Amherst; Mia Mask, Associate Professor of Film at Vassar College; Katherine Kane, Moderator, Executive Director of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

Presented in collaboration with The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, Harriet Beecher Stowe and The Mark Twain House & Museum, and The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Click here for tickets.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf "Sex & Lust"

Friday, February 28, 7:30 p.m.

"The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf -- and invites stories about sex & lust.

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. (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.) Or, click here for tickets.

Mar

March


The Singing Men of Ohio in a Free Lunchtime Concert

Monday, March 3, 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

In a surprise appearance, the Singing Men of Ohio, a 70-person Ohio University vocal group will perform a lunchtime concert on Monday, March 3 at the Mark Twain House Museum Center.

Their repertoire is not limited: they sing a variety of music, set in many different styles, languages and difficulty. Performing an African American spiritual, followed by a dramatic Latin piece and a playful American drinking song is not uncommon to be heard from the Singing Men. Without fail, their concerts are entertaining and emotion-filled journeys lead through the vision from their conductor, Dr. Daniel J. Hall.

Come out on your lunch hour, enjoy a snack at the Nook Farm Nook cafe and hear the great sounds of the Singing Men of Ohio! The Mark Twain House & Museum is just minutes from downtown and there's plenty of free parking!

This is a free event!

Nook Farm Book Talk: LEAN IN : WOMEN, WORK AND THE WILL TO LEAD

Wednesday, March 5, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women's voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In LEAN IN, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women's progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to "sit at the table," seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

A joint program of The Mark Twain House & Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Nook Farm Book Talks are informal conversations and open to all.

FREE!

The Trouble Begins at 5:30! "Mark Twain and the Philippine-American War" With Susan K. Harris.

Wednesday, March 12, 5:00 p.m. reception; The Trouble Begins at 5:30 p.m.

Late in life, Mark Twain railed against the American suppression of the Philippine independence movement. Susan K. Harris, is the Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture at The University of Kansas and the author of "God's Arbiters: Americans and the Philippines, 1898 - 1902" Central to the story is Mark Twain, an influential anti-imperialist partisan who was, for many, the embodiment of America. He wrote, "I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land." A book signing will follow the event.

This is a Free Event! Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130.

BOOK/MARK: Charles MacPherson - Author of "The Butler Speaks"

Thursday, March 13, 7:00 p.m.

Host a dinner party * Make a bed * Set a table * Use the proper fork * Polish silver * Prepare high tea * Present a calling card * Make conversation * Fold a shirt ... all with the charm, ease and sophistication of a butler.

In conjunction with the new "At Your Service" exhibit opening, Charles MacPherson, founder of the only licensed butler academy in North America, will discuss the essentials of entertaining and household management as outlined in his new beautifully illustrated style, etiquette and entertainment guide.

For anyone who rents or owns--be it a small urban condo or a lavish country estate--"The Butler Speaks" includes everything you need to know to simplify, organize and care for your home. It also offers modern advice on personal style and etiquette--how to receive guests; present your business card; make polite dinner conversation-- and advice on entertaining at home--how to make a cheese plate; hold your cutlery; set a table--all with the flair, charm and unpretentious grace of the butler.

This is a free event followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130.

Exhibition Opening for "At Your Service"

Thursday, March 13, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Do you enjoy "Downton Abbey"? If so, you'll love the new "At Your Service" exhibition at The Mark Twain House & Museum.

"At Your Service", a special exhibition that will be on view from March 14 until September 1, 2014, will use historic objects from the collections of the museum and of other institutions to educate visitors about the daily work lives of servants of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and to tell the stories of the diverse and interesting individuals who worked as servants for Mark Twain and his family.

There will be a free opening reception for At Your Service on Thursday, March 13 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the Mark Twain House Museum Center.

This is a free event. Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130.

"SAVAGE GIRL" by Jean Zimmerman " The Official Book Launch

Friday, March 14, 7:00 p.m.

Calling all wild women (and the men who love them)!

The Mark Twain House & Museum has been selected to launch Jean Zimmerman's latest novel, "SAVAGE GIRL". A suspenseful and murderous read, the book follows the story of a young woman believed to be raised by wolves who is adopted and transported to Gilded Age Manhattan. Shortly after her arrival, murders occur leading to a sensational investigation to determine whether or not the deaths are caused by this "savage girl."

"Savage Girl" is a romping narrative that bounces from Twain's Wild West home of Virginia City, Nevada to Edith Wharton's New York high society.

Get ready for a savage evening of fun and conversation with New York Times bestselling author Jean Zimmerman, author of "The Orphanmaster" and "Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance". Zimmerman, a historical novelist whose career includes nonfiction as well as fiction, will share edifying and entertaining images that give some cultural context for the fabulous Gilded Age world she has created in "Savage Girl".

Mark Twain served as an inspiration for a part of the novel that takes place in Virginia City, Nevada, where he worked as a as a cub reporter--a period he later looked back on when he wrote "Roughing It".

This is free event, followed by a book signing. Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130.

CHRISTINE LAVIN: Live In Concert!

Saturday, March 15, 7:00 pm

Christine Lavin is a singer/songwriter/guitarist/recording artist living in New York City. She is currently (2014) working on her 21st solo album, and in December 2013 she co-produced her tenth compilation CD JUST ONE ANGEL v2.0 showcasing the holiday songs of 19 songwriters whose work she loves. The food-themed compilaiion One Meat Ball, includes a 96-page cookbook that Christine edited. For four years she hosted "Slipped Disks" on xm satellite radio, playing CDs slipped to her backstage by compatriots, and is the occasional guest host for the City Folk Sunday Breakfast Show on WFUV-FM at Fordham University. She also writes freelance for various publications (including The Washington Post, Huffington Post, The St. Petersburg Times, The Performing Songwriter, and Delta "Sky" Magazine). Her song "Amoeba Hop" was turned into a science/music book by illustrator Betsy Franco Feeney (Puddle Jump Press), received the stamp of approval from The International Society of Protistologists, and a "Best Book Award" from the American Association for The Advancement of Science.

Betsy and Christine have collaborated again on HOLE IN THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, a children's book with CD that tells the story of an oil spill with an emphasis on clean, alternative energy. More than 50 singers from around the world are included on the CD. That book was crowd-funded by Kickstarter and is currently looking a publisher.

Christine performs concerts all over the US, Canada, and points beyond (Australia, Germany, Israel), and hosts knitting circles backstage prior to each show. Songs of hers have been performed by artists as diverse as Broadway stars Betty Buckley, Sutton Foster, and David Burnham, cabaret divas Andrea Marcovicci. Barbara Brussell, and Colleen McHugh, the college a cappella Dartmouth Decibelles, and The Accidentals, winners of the National Harmony Sweepstakes championship.

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

Good Tales and How to Tell Them: A Storytelling Writing Course with Tom Lee

Wednesday, March 19, through April 23, 2014, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Six Wednesday evenings, March 19th - April 23

The Mark Twain House's Storyteller-in-Residence, Tom Lee will lead a class exploring the nature of traditional stories - sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands of years old.

We will look at stories from a variety of world traditions and discover how telling stories opens up a dialogue with the teller and the listener.

Tom Lee has told stories professionally for twenty years. His interest in traditional stories began while he was working as a cook in a tiny fishing village in Scotland. Tom's first storytelling performances were tales from Grimm, told in the the London pub theater called, appropriately, "The Man in the Moon." In the United States, Tom has worked in classrooms with children of all ages. "When it comes to stories," he says, "children have taught me everything I know." A roster artist with the Connecticut Commission on Culture and a frequent guest artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Yale Center for British Art. Tom is a fellow with the Connecticut Writing Project at the University of Connecticut. Tom Lee lives in Chester, Connecticut, where he gardens overambitiously. This class is appropriate for anyone interested in telling a good story. Educators, writers, and artists may find it particularly useful in developing their crafts.

$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Memoir Writing Course with Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Wednesday, March 19, through April 23, 2014; 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Six Wednesday evenings.

With pen or keys, we will revisit episodes in our lives that will not let us go, and we will think on those episodes wearing the analytical hat of the mathematician. We will write and re-write those episodes until we find the key to unlock what we are trying to understand, to grasp, to make sense of. We will not depend on the serenity of "once upon a time," but instead learn to create the sense that what happened to us then is happening to us now, without the security of probable escape, no promise that everything will turn out just dandy. We will learn what is required to put our memories into an irresistible, provocative and coherent story, for that is what a good memoir is (as opposed to an autobiography and we'll see the difference). Thankfully, we will be helped along by examining excellent memoirs already published.

Mary-Ann Tirone Smith was born and raised in Hartford, and has lived in Connecticut all her life except for the two years she served as a Peace Corps volunteer on Mt. Cameroon, an active volcano rising 14,000 feet above the West African equatorial sea. She has published eight novels, and collaborated on a ninth with her son, Jere Smith. Her memoir, Girls of Tender Age, was selected as a community read by several cities and towns, and is an ongoing favorite of book discussion groups. Her work has been reprinted in seven foreign languages, and in paperback, audio and ebook editions. Her short stories and essays have been included in several collections. She was awarded the Diana Bennet Writing Fellowship at the Black Mountain Institute, UNLV, where she worked on a Civil War novel just completed: The Honoured Guest: Anne Alger Craven, Witness to Sumter, in Her Words.

$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Fiction Writing Course with Nancy Antle

Wednesday, March 19, through April 23rd, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Six Wednesday evenings, March 19th - April 23

Study the fine art of writing fiction under the experience and tutelage of Nancy Antle.

Nancy Antle has been writing and teaching for over thirty years. She is a 2013 MFA in fiction graduate from Southern CT State University and is currently a writing mentor/volunteer with the Afghan Women's Writing Project online which "provides a platform for Afghan women to develop their voices and discover their power in the world." She has taught beginning fiction writing at Southern CT State University, novel writing for Bulldog Tutors in New Haven and children's book writing for both Gotham Writer's Workshop and the Institute of Children's Literature. She has published short stories, books and poems for adults, young adults and children. She lives with her husband in New Haven.

$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

BOOK/MARK: Mark Twain Takes Washington

Thursday, March 20, 7:00 pm

"There is something good and motherly about Washington, the grand old benevolent National Asylum for the helpless." - The Gilded Age

What city could possibly deserve more scrutiny from America's favorite wit? Twain's love/hate affair with Washington, D.C. started with his first novel, THE GILDED AGE, and continued until the end of his life.

Join the White Suited Avenger as he walks the halls of power, tweaks the noses of political twits, and lays waste to the waste in Washington, D.C.

Panel discussion:

John Muller, journalist, historian and author of the new book MARK TWAIN IN WASHINGTON, D.C.: THE ADVENTURES OF A CAPITAL CORRESPONDENT

Donald T. Bliss, former U.S. Ambassador, great-grandson of Mark Twain's publisher, and author of MARK TWAIN'S TALE OF TODAY

Vincent Sullivan, President of The Mark Twain Society of Virginia and Historic Interpreter for The Mark Twain House & Museum

FREE EVENT! Followed by author signing. Reservations are suggested; please click here or call (860) 280-3130 to reserve.

Playwriting: A Workshop with Sarah Moon

Saturday, March 22, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

In this workshop, we'll dive into dramatic writing with a handful of fresh writing exercises and short readings from the world's great dramatists. We'll discuss writing habits, keys to great dialogue, vivid characters and effective revision. We'll also cover some of the practical aspects of playwriting like submitting to contests and producing your own work. Why write drama? As Oscar Wilde said, "I regard theatre as...the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." Come share!

Sarah Moon's plays have been produced and workshopped in Washington D.C., Indianapolis, Boston and New York City. Her play with music,Tauris, an adaptation of Euripides' Iphegenia at Tauris, premiered in the 2013 Planet Connections Festivity in NYC, receiving the Planet Connections Award for Best Book of a New Musical or Play with Music. Other recent New York credits include End of the Dog Days in the 2013 Summer Play Festival at the Players Theatre and Turtles in the April edition of Fresh Produce'd at the Drama Bookshop. In 2004, she received an MFA in Playwriting from Brandeis University where her play Losing the Game won the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Award for Best Original Play. Sarah is currently working toward her PhD in English Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Connecticut.

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

Writing in Mark Twain's Library

Sunday, March 23, 9:00 am to 11:30 am

"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph." " Mark Twain

Sometimes, what we need to write our great novel, or even just a good page, is just a little peace and quiet. Throw in some inspiration from Hartford's favorite author and we'd call that a successful morning. That's why we're introducing a new series called "Writing in Mark Twain's Library." Sign up for a Sunday morning writing session in the Clemens family home: you and a maximum of fifteen other people will have the house to yourselves. Feel inspired by the beautiful sounds of the fountain in the family conservatory; rest your eyes upon Twain's bookshelves as you ponder your next word. You'll spend three hours of quiet in the historic library of our very own Sam Clemens. No doubt you'll begin your own masterpiece.

$50 for two and a half quiet hours in Twain's library. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. (860) 280-3130, or click here for tickets.

BOOK/MARK: Tesla and Edison

Wednesday, March 26, 7:00 p.m.

Join us for what should be an electrifying conversation between two biographers: W. Bernard Carlson, author of TESLA: INVENTOR OF THE ELECTRICAL AGE, and Leonard DeGraaf, author of EDISON AND THE RISE OF INNOVATION. Both men made significant contributions to the creation of our modern age and their relationship remains mired in controversy. These two scholars will help separate the truth from the myth and illuminate these two Gilded Age giants.

BOOK/MARK is a FREE series of authors in informal conversation. Reservations are not necessary. Followed by book sale and signing.

This is a Free Event! Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, March 28, and Saturday, March 29; 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.

Apr

April


BOOK/MARK: HERE IS WHERE & SAVE AMERICA'S HISTORY National Tour Kickoff with Andrew Carroll

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

HERE IS WHERE chronicles Andrew Carroll's eye-opening " and at times hilarious -- journey across America to find and explore unmarked historic sites where extraordinary moments occurred and remarkable individuals once lived.

Sparking the idea for this book was Carroll's visit to the spot where Abraham Lincoln's son was saved by the brother of Lincoln's assassin. Carroll wondered, "How many other unmarked places are there where intriguing events have unfolded and that we walk past every day, not realizing their significance? "

With this event, Carroll kicks off a coast-to-coast drive to bring attention to extraordinary but forgotten and unmarked historic sites for his "Here Is Where" initiative and also to seek out and preserve wartime correspondence. Carroll is the director of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University (www.WarLetters.us), and he will be speaking at historical societies, libraries, schools, colleges, military bases, veterans halls, book stores, and other public venues to raise awareness about the importance of saving our nation's history.

FREE Book/Mark Event. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Nook Farm Book Talk: THE LAND OF STEADY HABITS with author Ted Thompson

Wednesday, April 2, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at Twain Museum Center

We welcome first time novelist Ted Thompson discussing his Connecticut-inspired book, THE LAND OF STEADY HABITS.

Coming of age can happen at the strangest times. For Anders Hill, long ensconced in "the land of steady habits"-the affluent hamlets of Connecticut that dot the commuter rail line-it's finally time to reap the rewards of a sensible life. Into his sixties and newly retired, his grown sons' college tuitions paid in full, Anders finds the contentment he's been promised is still just out of reach. So he decides he's had enough of steady habits: he leaves his wife, buys a condo, and waits for freedom to transform him.

But as the cheery charade of Christmas approaches, Anders starts to wonder if maybe parachuting from his life was not the most prudent choice. Stripped of the comforts of his previous identity, he turns up at a holiday party full of his ex-wife's friends, and sets in motion a series of events by turns comic and catastrophic. Before the year has turned, he has to face the startling possibility that the very world he rejected may in fact be the only one he needs.

Charting the arc of a forty-year marriage this finely observed novel about a man deep in conflict with his community and his past brings into sharp relief the powers of memory, miscommunication, routine, and disappointment to shape and define a family's mythology. The Land of Steady Habits introduces Ted Thompson as an auspicious talent with striking compassion for his characters and new insight into the American tradition of the suburban narrative.

Nook Farm Book Talks are an informal conversation on books presented by The Mark Twain House & Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

FREE! Followed by book sale and signing.

BOOK/MARK - "God Is Disappointed in You" with Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler

Thursday, April 3, 7:00 p.m.

Come meet author Mark Russell and New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler talk about their new book, "God Is Disappointed in You". This book is for people who would like to read the Bible... if it would just cut to the chase. Stripped of its arcane language and its interminable passages of poetry, genealogy, and law, every book of the Bible is condensed down to its core message, in no more than a few pages each. "God Is Disappointed in You" is a frequently hilarious, often shocking, but always accurate retelling of the Bible, including the parts selectively left out by Sunday School teachers and church sermons. Irreverent yet faithful, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to see past the fog of religious agendas and cultural debates to discover what the Bible really says.

Followed by a book signing. This is a free event. For reservations, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BECK & CALL " The Servants Tour (Directed by HartBeat Ensemble's Steven Raider-Ginsburg)

Friday, April 4, Tours start at 7:00 pm.

Help! The servants at Mark Twain's House are expecting a full-on assault of overnight guests. With famous faces coming for an elegant dinner, three guest rooms to prepare and 25 rooms worth of dusting, the hired help may need a helping hand. With BECK & CALL, our fun, new interactive nighttime servants tour of The Mark Twain House, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Clemens home ship-shape for overnight entertaining. You may even be asked to pitch in! With costumed interpreters appearing throughout the house, fans of "Upstairs/Downtairs" and "Downton Abbey" will love this look at the organized chaos that it took to cook, clean and clothe the Clemens Family.

Special Added Attraction: Be among the first to see the 3rd floor Artists Friends Guest Room, reopened for the first time in two decades!

BECK & CALL " The Servants Tour - The first Friday of every month, April through September (except for July, which will be on the second Friday of that month)

Beck & Call is supported by the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor.

$22 for adults with discounts for children and members. Reservations required. For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth with author Reza Aslan

Friday, April 4, 7:00 p.m.

In July 2013, Dr. Reza Aslan was interviewed on the Fox New program "Spirited Debate" by anchor Lauren Green about his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Green was "unsatisfied with Aslan's credentials," and she pressed Aslan, questioning why a Muslim would write about Jesus. The interview lasted about ten minutes and focused "on Aslan's background more than the actual contents of the book." In the end, Green claimed that "Aslan had somehow misled readers by not disclosing his religion", whereupon he pointed out that his personal religious faith "is discussed on page two of his book" and called himself "quite a prominent Muslim thinker in the United States." Green was almost universally criticized for the premise of her questions during the interview. The video clip of the interview went viral within days.

The #1 New York Times Bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth is a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.

Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the "Kingdom of God." The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal.

Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God.

Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry"a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.

Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious "King of the Jews" whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.

Dr. Reza Aslan is the founder of AslanMedia, a social media network for news and entertainment about the Middle East and the world, and co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of BoomGen Studios, the premier entertainment brand for creative content from and about the Greater Middle East. Born in Iran, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife (author and entrepreneur Jessica Jackley) where he is Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Cooperating Faculty in the Department of Religion at the University of California, Riverside. His previous academic positions include the Wallerstein Distinguished Professor of Religion, Community and Conflict at Drew University in New Jersey (2012-2013), and Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Iowa (2000-2003).

This event is co-presented with the Trinity College Department of Religion.

This is a Free Event! Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30! "Mrs. Mark Twain" With Martin Naparsteck

Wednesday, April 9, 5:00 p.m. reception; The Trouble Begins at 5:30 p.m.

Naparstack is the co-author, with Michele Cardulla, of Mrs. Mark Twain: The Life of Olivia Langdon Clemens, 1845-1904, the first biography of Twain's beloved "Livy." Olivia Langdon was born into what became the richest family in Elmira, New York, in 1845, and was one of the first females in the country to attend a college. But her life became extraordinary when she married Mark Twain in 1870. She befriended the literary elite of America and Europe, traveled around the globe, and dined with royalty. Tragedy also plagued the family: Her father died six months after her marriage, her son died at 18 months, and a beloved daughter dies at 24. She was frail, and spent years at a time bedridden. Her husband's bad investments drove the family into bankruptcy. Through all this, she and Samuel L. Clemens maintained a close, loving relationship. A book sale and signing will follow the event.

A talk by Elisabeth Petry, also in the auditorium, begins at 3:30 p.m. that day, and--though part of a workshop for teachers--has been specially opened to the public for the occasion.

With more than 10 years of experience in journalism and a degree in law, Petry says she has "found great rewards in researching and writing two books about aspects of the African American experience." The first, Can Anything Beat White? explores the lives of Petry's forebears in Hartford and on travels to Hawaii, the Philippines and parts of the Deep South between 1890 and 1910. Her great-grandfather, Willis Samuel James, was coachman to Connecticut Governor Marshall Jewell, a Hartford industrial leader and associate of Mark Twain and his circle.

The talk is highly appropriate accompaniment to the museum's current exhibition on the Clemens servants' life, At Your Service. Petry conducts writing workshops for veterans at Middletown's Russell Library and is currently working on a non-fiction book that engages topics beyond her family and beyond the twentieth century.

Free. A book sale and signing will follow the event. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf: "Work"

Friday, April 11, 7:30 p.m.

"The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf -- and invites stories about work.

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 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.

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT--Republican Primary Gubernatorial Debate

Friday, April 11, Doors to the auditorium open at 11:30 a.m. Because this is a live TV event, the audience must be seated and doors closed by 11:55.

FOX CT and The Hartford Courant will televise a live debate among Republican primary gubernatorial candidates at noon Friday, April 11, at Mark Twain House & Museum auditorium, 351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT.

The debate is free and open to the public.

Expected candidates are Mark Boughton, Martha Dean, Mark Lauretti, John McKinney and Joe Visconti.

It can be watched live at foxct.com and courant.com, or later on FOX CT on Sunday, April 13, at 10 a.m.

This event is sold out.

Writing from the First Person for Young Adults: A Writing Workshop with Dayna Lorentz

Saturday, April 12, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

I dance, I scream, I cry: Writing in the First-Person Present for Young Adults

Lift the cover of any Young Adult novel lining the shelves of your local bookseller or library, and you'll likely find that it's told from the first person point of view, and in the present tense. Bestsellers The Hunger Games, Thirteen Reasons Why, Divergent, and Speak: all first-person, present tense narratives. In this workshop, we'll discuss the appeal of this point of view for writing YA in particular, and also the kinds of problems it presents and limitations it entails. We'll look at popular examples of the form, and also write and workshop short pieces of our own.

Dayna Lorentz is the author of the No Safety in Numbers trilogy (Dial/Kathy Dawson Books). The first book in the series, No Safety in Numbers, was selected by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) as a 2013 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and the second, No Easy Way Out, was a Barnes&Noble Bookseller's Pick for Teens. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Bennington College. A former attorney, Dayna is now a full-time writer and lives with her husband, two kids, and dogs in Vermont. If you ask nicely, she will show you the proper way to eat a cupcake. Visit her at www.daynalorentz.com and NoSafetyinNumbersBooks.com.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT: Paranormal Legends Trip: The Spirits of The Mark Twain House

Saturday, April 12, 6:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

"Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night grieving." "Mark Twain

Huckleberry Finn knew about ghosts, and his creator, American literary treasure, Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, loved to tell a good ghost story.

Between 1874 and 1891, Mark Twain lived in this stately Hartford home with his wife and three daughters. During his stay in Hartford, Twain penned some of his greatest works including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Mark Twain called his years in this home the happiest and most productive years of his life.

By 1891, financial problems forced Twain to move to Europe so he could earn money on a speaking tour. While overseas, tragedy struck the family. In 1896, Twain's beloved daughter Susy died from meningitis. The family thought it would be too difficult to live in their Hartford home again without Susy, so the mansion was sold in 1903. The building later served as a boarding school, library, and then a museum dedicated to Mark Twain.

The most prominent ghostly figure in the home today is that of a young woman in a long white dress who has been seen gliding along the hallways, stairways, and hovering in Susy's former bedroom. We can only speculate that this is the spirit of Mark Twain's daughter returning to the place she was happiest. In addition, several guests, staff, and investigators believe that George Griffin, the family's butler, still makes his appointed rounds in the house. Several employees of the museum acknowledge that there's a spirit to the building, and they often feel like they're not alone inside.

You've seen this place on Ghost Hunters now investigate for yourself! Legend Trips is the first group to be allowed inside to hold an event like this. Don't miss it!

Agenda:

6:30 PM - Arrive/Meet and Greet

7:00 PM - Dinner

7:30 PM - Historical overview of the site

8:30 PM to 1:30 AM - Investigations

For tickets or more information, please click here.

Tom Lee, Storyteller"THE CAMEL HUSBAND

Sunday, April 13, 2:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is excited to present another Sunday afternoon storytelling session with Master Storyteller Tom Lee. On Sunday, April 13 at 2 pm, Tom will be sharing the fun and adventurous story of THE CAMEL HUSBAND.

This story is appropriate for children ages 5 and up.

THE CAMEL HUSBAND

A folktale from the Middle East

A camel is a most unlikely bridegroom for the beautiful daughter of the great Sultan, but in this delightful folktale from the Middle East the handsome hero indeed has four legs and a hump! But in the world of the fairytale, things " and even camels " are seldom what they seem to be.

A story of magic, enchantment, and breathtaking adventure, "The Camel Husband" is fun for listeners of all ages. Secret caves, splendid palaces, and mysterious spells keep the thread of story twisting and turning. In the end, only a story-within-the-story can bring everything to a happy ending.

This program is about 75 minutes in length.

Here is some audience feedback from a recent storytelling appearance by Tom:

"Very intimate setting, very gripping performer."

"Totally captivating."

"Different and entertaining."

"Very engaging speaker, fascinating stories."

"Tom is a masterful storyteller...I'm happy to be surprised!"

Tickets - $10; $5 for children under 16. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO A DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED -- BOOK/MARK - "Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives" by Brendan Jay Sullivan

Thursday, April 17, 7:00 p.m.

Lady Gaga's old friend and former DJ Brendan Jay Sullivan will paint a vivid picture of the downtown New York City scene from which she emerged. Sullivan is the author of "Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives."

Brendan Jay Sullivan was an up-and-coming DJ in NYC when he met Stefani Germanotta, then a struggling artist, in 2006. She was a go-go dancer who sewed her own outfits but had bigger ambitions-she wanted nothing less than to take over the music world.

In this intimate portrait of the budding star who would soon catapult to fame and fortune, the author describes afternoons sitting with Gaga on the floor of her bare Lower East Side apartment, drinking wine from pint glasses and plotting out the pop stardom that awaited her.

Filled with stories of love and heartbreak among Gaga and Sullivan and their circle of aspiring musicians and performers, and set against the vibrant backdrop of the downtown bars and parties of the mid-aughts, "Rivington Was Ours" is both a love letter to New York and a glimpse behind the veil of one of the biggest musical icons of her generation.

3rd Annual Writers' Weekend!

Friday, April 25, through April 27, 2014

Join us for year three of a paradise for writers!

This can't-miss-it event is the best small writers' conference in Connecticut. Our first and second years were smash successes, and we can't wait to offer even more writers, workshops, genres, and opportunities for everyone.

From Keynote Speaker Meg Wolitzer, author of the current bestseller The Interestings, all the way through a Literary Death Match that will pit Director of Writing Julia Pistell against the most fun, famous and talented writers you know, this weekend will be a thrilling and inspiring exploration of literary creativity and craft.

In the shadow of Mark Twain's breathtaking home, writers of all levels of experience are invited to spend a weekend writing, learning, exchanging ideas, and getting books signed by the authors you've been dying to meet. The roster includes: a panel on Criticism with former Granta Editor-in-Chief John Freeman; workshops and discussions on aspects of the writing craft including jump-starting a novel, poetry as memoir, researching for nonfiction essays, and much more; lectures on aspects of publishing including finding an agent, pitching to publicity outlets, and editing for publication; and an all-day marathon of authors selling and signing books.

Sunday morning will feature an expo and book signing of the members of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. Writers range from recurring favorites Bessy Reyna, Susan Campbell, and Mary Sharnick to first-time presenters Matthew Dicks, Vivian Shipley, and Qais Akbar Omar. Also presenting will be Tim Parrish, Susan Schoenberger, Wayne English, TJ Jarrett, John Casey, Mike Morin, Patricia Chaffee, Steve Courtney, Ravi Shankar, Leslie Johnson, John Stanizzi"and more, because we're adding others every day.

The cost of the weekend is $150 for early birds (price will go up to $160 on April 1st). Costs include an opening and closing reception, coffee, and a small lunch on Saturday. The weekend will kick off at 6:00 pm with a reception preceding Meg Wolitzer's Keynote Conversation at 7 pm and continue with programs from 9 am " 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday before concluding with a Literary Death Match on Sunday afternoon.

Tickets are $150 FOR EARLY BIRDS and on sale now (will go up to $160 in April!):

Online tickets available at http://bit.ly/1fph07v Or Call The Mark Twain House & Museum at (860) 280-3130.

$150 until April 1st; $160 thereafter. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, April 25, and Saturday, April 26; 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for some spring 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 soon to make your reservations!

The tours are tsponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

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

"The Dream of the Great American Novel" by author Lawrence Buell

Wednesday, April 30, 7:00 p.m. at the Harriett Beecher Stowe Center

In conjunction with the Harriett Beecher Stowe Center, The Mark Twain House & Museum is pleased to bring you an evening with Lawrence Buell, author of "The Dream of the Great American"

The idea of "the great American novel" continues to thrive almost as vigorously as in its nineteenth-century heyday, defying 150 years of attempts to dismiss it as amateurish or obsolete. In this landmark book, the first in many years to take in the whole sweep of national fiction, Lawrence Buell reanimates this supposedly antiquated idea, demonstrating that its history is a key to the dynamics of national literature and national identity itself.

The dream of the G.A.N., as Henry James nicknamed it, crystallized soon after the Civil War. In fresh, in-depth readings of selected contenders from the 1850s onward in conversation with hundreds of other novels, Buell delineates four "scripts" for G.A.N. candidates. One, illustrated by The Scarlet Letter, is the adaptation of the novel's story-line by later writers, often in ways that are contrary to the original author's own design. Other aspirants, including The Great Gatsby and Invisible Man, engage the American Dream of remarkable transformation from humble origins. A third script, seen in Uncle Tom's Cabin and Beloved, is the family saga that grapples with racial and other social divisions. Finally,mega-novels from Moby-Dick to Gravity's Rainbow feature assemblages of characters who dramatize in microcosm the promise and pitfalls of democracy.

The canvas of the great American novel is in constant motion, reflecting revolutions in fictional fashion, the changing face of authorship, and the inseparability of high culture from popular. As Buell reveals, the elusive G.A.N. showcases the myth of the United States as a nation perpetually under construction.

Lawrence Buell (born 1939) is Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature Emeritus at Harvard University, specialist on antebellum American literature and a pioneer of Ecocriticism. He is the 2007 recipient of the Jay Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in American Literary studies, the "highest professional award that the American Literature Section of the MLA can give."[1] He won the 2003 Warren-Brooks Award for outstanding literary criticism for his 2003 book on Ralph Waldo Emerson. His Writing for an Endangered World won the 2001 John G. Cawelti Award for the best book in the field of American Culture Studies. He retired from Harvard in 2011.

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

May

May


Lecture on Samuel Johnson with Morwenna Rae, curator of the Samuel Johnson House in London

Thursday, May 1, 7:00 p.m.

In a joint program with the Noah Webster House which takes place at that museum (227 S Main St, West Hartford), we are pleased to present a lecture on Samuel Johnson by Morwenna Rae, curator of the Samuel Johnson House in London.

Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784), often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson was a devout Anglican and committed Tory, and has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history".

After nine years of work, Johnson's "A Dictionary of the English Language" was published in 1755. It had a far-reaching effect on Modern English and has been described as one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship. Until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary 150 years later, Johnson's was viewed as the pre-eminent British dictionary.

This is a free event, but reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

UCS Annual Event Series: MAKING WORK WORK - PANEL DISCUSSION

Thursday, May 1, 7:00 p.m.

MAKING WORK WORK: Economic Justice in the New Guilded Age

Panel

Prof. Janet Barnes-Farrell, UConn Center for Aging

Prof. Naomi Gerstel, UMass Amherst, Sociology Department

Prof. Robert Ross, Clark University, Sociology Department

Moderator & Panelist : Attorney Daniel Livingston, Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn & Kelly PC

This is a free event.

BECK & CALL " The Servants Tour (Directed by HartBeat Ensemble's Steven Raider-Ginsburg)

Friday, May 2, Tours begin at 7:00 p.m.

Help! The servants at Mark Twain's House are expecting a full-on assault of overnight guests. With famous faces coming for an elegant dinner, three guest rooms to prepare and 25 rooms worth of dusting, the hired help may need a helping hand. With BECK & CALL, our fun, new interactive nighttime servants tour of The Mark Twain House, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Clemens home ship-shape for overnight entertaining. You may even be asked to pitch in! With costumed interpreters appearing throughout the house, fans of "Upstairs/Downtairs" and "Downton Abbey" will love this look at the organized chaos that it took to cook, clean and clothe the Clemens Family.

Special Added Attraction: Be among the first to see the 3rd floor Artists Friends Guest Room, reopened for the first time in two decades!

BECK & CALL " The Servants Tour - The first Friday of every month, April through September (except for July, which will be on the second Friday of that month)

Beck & Call is supported by the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor.

$22 for adults with discounts for children and members. Reservations required. For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Tom Lee, Storyteller" "The Devil's Golden Hairs""a tale from the Brothers Grimm

Sunday, May 4, 2:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is excited to present another Sunday afternoon storytelling session with Master Storyteller Tom Lee. On Sunday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m., Tom will be sharing the fun and adventurous story of "The Devil's Golden Hairs""a tale from the Brothers Grimm.

This story is appropriate for children ages 5 and up.

Can a peasant boy, born poorer than poor, really marry the daughter of a king? And not just any king, but one of the most wicked and greedy kings in all of fairytales? Of course he can, if he just find the devil and pull three golden hairs out of his chin! Luckily, our hero is born to good luck and quick wits. No matter what outrageous dangers and difficulties he encounters, he manages to keep good fortune on his side.

Tom Lee tells this rollicking adventure at a galloping pace. "The Devil's Golden Hairs" will have audiences of all ages alternately laughing with delight and holding their breath in suspense.

Here is some audience feedback from a recent storytelling appearance by Tom:

"Very intimate setting, very gripping performer."

"Totally captivating."

"Different and entertaining."

"Very engaging speaker, fascinating stories."

"Tom is a masterful storyteller...I'm happy to be surprised!"

Tickets - $10; $5 for children under 16. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Beatrix Potter: The Gardening Life with author Marta McDowell in conjunction with Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and Connecticut Historic Gardens

Monday, May 5, 5:30 p.m.

"Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life" is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter's love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener's biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England's Lake District. Next, the reader follows Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler's guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter's gardens today.

Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter's classic tales.

Marta McDowell lives, gardens, and writes in Chatham, New Jersey. She consults for public gardens and private clients. Marta writes and lectures on gardening topics and teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, where she studied landscape design. Her particular interest is in authors and their gardens, the connection between the pen and the trowel. Her book, Emily Dickinson's Gardens: A Celebration of a Poet and Gardener, was published in 2005. She is an active member of The Beatrix Potter Society.

This event takes place at the Mark Twain Museum Center.

This is free event. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Playwriting: A Six-Week Writing Course with Sarah Moon

Wednesday, May 7, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Six Wednesday evenings, May 7th - June 11th

Students will create vivid characters, develop engaging plots and explore what makes great drama and comedy on stage. Writing exercises will support students' work on a short or long play while instruction will emphasize the playwright's journey from writing to production. We'll take inspiration from the work of three diverse 20th Century dramatists: Harold Pinter, Maria Irene Fornes and Nicky Silver. In addition to the workshops, students will have the option to attend a Hartford theatre production as a group. The class will culminate in an open reading of students' scenes and short plays with local actors.

Texts: Betrayal by Harold Pinter Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes Pterodactyls by Nicky Silver

Sarah Moon's plays have been produced and workshopped in Washington D.C., Indianapolis, Boston and New York City. Her play with music,Tauris, an adaptation of Euripides' Iphegenia at Tauris, premiered in the 2013 Planet Connections Festivity in NYC, receiving the Planet Connections Award for Best Book of a New Musical or Play with Music. Other recent New York credits include End of the Dog Days in the 2013 Summer Play Festival at the Players Theatre and Turtles in the April edition of Fresh Produce'd at the Drama Bookshop. In 2004, she received an MFA in Playwriting from Brandeis University where her play Losing the Game won the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Award for Best Original Play. Sarah is currently working toward her PhD in English Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Connecticut.

$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Writing for Children: A Six-week Writing Course with Pegi Deitz Shea

Wednesday, May 7, through June 11, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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

Playing the Humor Card: A Writing Course with Hank Herman

Wednesday, May 7, through June 11, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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 irresistable 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.

Texts: Accept My Kid, Please! A Dad's Descent Into College Education Hell by Hank Herman; As Texas Goes . . . How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda by Gail Collins

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

Fiction: A Six-Week Writing Course with Amity Gaige

Wednesday, May 7, through June 11, 2014, Wednesdays 6:00 - 8:00 pm

This Fiction Writing course will be structured around four experimental exercises, ones meant to get students working in new ways, trying new techniques. These exercises will be shared in class by the students each week, as writers learn best from one another. The course will also involve the reading of famous interviews about the writing life from the Paris Review's extensive collections, which cover the past five or six decades of American literary life.

Amity Gaige is the author of three novels, O My Darling (2005), The Folded World (2007), and Schroder, which was published by Twelve Books/Hachette in 2013. A New York Times Notable Book, Schroder has been translated into fifteen languages. Amity is the winner of a Fulbright Fellowship, fellowships at the MacDowell and Yaddo colonies, a Baltic Writing Residency, and in 2006, she was recognized as one of the "5 Under 35" outstanding emerging writers by the National Book Foundation. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, O Magazine, the Literary Review, The Yale Review, One Story, and elsewhere. She lives in West Hartford, and is the current Visiting Writer at Amherst College.

$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Nook Farm Book Talk - "The Good Lord Bird" by author James McBride

Wednesday, May 7, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

From the bestselling author of "The Color of Water" and "Song Yet Sung" comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown's antislavery crusade"and who must pass as a girl to survive.

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town"with Brown, who believes he's a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry"whom Brown nicknames Little Onion"conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859"one of the great catalysts for the Civil War.

An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride's meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.

James McBride is the author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller, "The Color of Water". A former reporter for The Washington Post and People magazine, McBride holds a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. from Oberlin College

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

BOOK/MARK: Vivien Shotwell, author of "Vienna Nocturne", along with a Mozart Recital

Thursday, May 8, 7:00 p.m.

Vivien Shotwell will discuss her new sweeping historical love story and a portrait of an age. "Vienna Nocturne" is a deeply moving debut novel that brings to life two extraordinary figures"a thirty-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a young English soprano, Anna Storace, who was his muse"in prose as spirited, timeless, and touching as Mozart's greatest compositions.

In late-eighteenth-century London, a young girl takes her first singing lessons with a mysterious castrato in exile. Her life is forever changed. Having learned everything he can teach her, Anna leaves behind all the security and familiarity of home and journeys to Naples and Venice to struggle and triumph in Italy's greatest opera houses. Only sixteen, she finds herself in an intoxicating world of theaters, nobility, and vice, overwhelmed by her newfound freedom and fame. Her first bitter experience of love and heartbreak inevitably follows.

Within a few years, Anna is invited to sing in Vienna, the City of Music, by the emperor himself. There, in a teasing game of theft and play, Anna first meets Mozart, a young virtuoso pianist and striving, prodigiously talented composer. They are matched in intellect and talent, and an immediate and undeniable charge occurs between the two, despite both being married to others.

As her star rises in Vienna and her personal life deteriorates, Anna experiences an ultimate crisis. During this trying time, her only light is Mozart: his energy, his determination for her, and his art. She, in turn, becomes his hope and inspiration, and his joy, as he writes for her some of his most exquisite and enduring arias"music that will live on as his masterworks.

Rich in historical detail and beautifully wrought by Vivien Shotwell, an author who is herself an opera singer, "Vienna Nocturne" is a dramatic tour de force of a woman's struggle to find love and fame in an eighteenth-century world that controls and limits her at every turn.

Also on the evening's program is a recital of Mozart music.

This is a free event followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Magician Margaret Steele presents Adelaide Herrmann Queen of Magic Memoirs, Published Writings and Collected Ephemera, Victorian magic show.

Friday, May 9, 7:00 p.m.

Acclaimed magician Margaret Steele performs a loving tribute inspired by the work of Madame Adelaide Herrmann. She tells the story of the colorful life and career of Madame Adelaide Herrmann, a contemporary of Houdini's and the first great female magician. This first-ever book on Madame Adelaide Herrmann includes her long-lost memoir, which finally surfaced in 2010, seventy-eight years after her death.

The book lecture and magical tribute performance provides an extremely entertaining learning experience. Madame's Magic, performed in pantomime, includes authentic music of the era.

Tickets are $20 ($15 for MTH&M members). Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

"How Mark Twain became Mark Twain": A New Theory, with Kevin Mac Donnell

Monday, May 12, 5:30 p.m.

Twain scholar, bookseller and collector Kevin Mac Donnell of Austin, Texas, has shaken up the world of Mark Twain Studies with a new theory on the famous pen name of Samuel L. Clemens -- finding "mark twain," a nautical term, used as a proper name two years before Twain adopted it. He'll tell the story of the Google search that revealed the peculiarities of the newspaper world in the Civil War era that led him to a surprising new conclusion.

At the Mark Twain House Museum Center.

This is a free; reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30! "Mark Twain and Isabella Beecher Hooker" With Susan Campbell

Wednesday, May 14, 5:00 p.m. reception; The Trouble Begins at 5:30 p.m.

Susan Campbell is the author of "Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker." Campbell provides a fresh and personal view of Hooker, a fighter for women's rights, a powerful personality, spiritualist, and neighbor of Mark Twain.Learn why Olivia Clemens (Mark Twain's wife) forbade this energetic and dedicated woman, sister to Harriet Beecher Stowe, from entering the house " and why years later Samuel Clemens was honored to be one of her pallbearers.

This is a Free Event! Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Jennifer Pustz - Voices from the Back Stairs: Domestic Servants in 19th and 20th Century New England

Thursday, May 15, 5:30 p.m.

Although domestic servants made everyday life in grand homes possible; their identities and roles within the household have long been hidden. This lecture will illustrate the diversity of domestic service in New England over the ninetieth and twentieth centuries by focusing on three historic New England Properties. Period domestic manuals, ephemera, and other general material will also bring the lives of servants and relationship with their employers to the foreground.

Jennifer Pustz is the museum historian at Historic new England. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa and M.A. and B.A. degrees in art history. She is the author of "Voices from the Back Stairs: Interpreting Servants' Lives at Historic House Museums" (Norther Illinois University Press, 2010).

This is free event. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Writing Workshop: Travel Writing with A. N. Devers

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

A.N. Devers' work has appeared in Departures, Electric Literature, Slice, Tin House, The Washington Post and online in Lapham's Quarterly, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Slate, and Salon among other publications. Her essay, "On the Outskirts" received Notable Mention in The Best American Essays 2011. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. She is founder of Writers' Houses, an online publication about the art of literary pilgrimage. She has taught writing workshops at Adelphi University and Sackett Street Writers' Workshop.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

GET A CLUE Tours!

Saturday, May 17, Tours step off every 15 minutes beginning at 7 p.m. Reservations required.

Who killed that varmint Pap Finn??? 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 for tickets.

BOOK/MARK - The Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys, the True Story with author Dean H. King

Sunday, May 18, 2:30 p.m.

Nearly every American has heard of the Hatfields and the McCoys and their infamous feud, yet almost nobody knows the truth of this legendarily violent and influential clash in the heart of Appalachia. Contrary to popular belief, this wasn't just a matter of two hillbilly families taking potshots at each other: the Hatfields and McCoys were well-established landowners, who had intermarried and interacted for decades. But after the Civil War, things turned bloody. By the time the fury subsided, 13 family members lay dead, and the hostilities had become a national media spectacle as state officials and the United States Supreme Court were drawn into the grisly dispute.

Filled with brutal murders, clannish loyalty, reckless affairs, mercenaries, and gun-slinging lawmen, The Feud is the riveting story of two frontier families struggling for survival within the narrow confines of a vast land.

Dean King is an award-winning author of nine non-fiction books. King has chased stories across Europe, Asia, Africa and now Appalachia. King's writing has appeared in Granta, Garden & Gun, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, New York Magazine and the New York Times. He is a contributing editor of Virginia Living and a nationally known speaker, who has been the chief story-teller on two History Channel documentaries.

This is a Free Event! Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT! Garrison Keillor discussing "The Keillor Reader" at the Mark Twain House & Museum

Sunday, May 18, 7:00 p.m.

Garrison Keillor is one of America's most beloved radio hosts and acclaimed humorists. The creator of "Prairie Home Companion" comes to The Mark Twain House & Museum in support of his soon-to-be-released "greatest hits" compendium "The Keillor Reader".

It's a rare small-venue (less than 200 seats) appearance for Keillor, who will engage in conversation with Mark Twain House Executive Director Cindy Lovell, and a special opportunity for his many fans. The conversation will be followed by a book sale and signing.

Tickets will go on sale to the public at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 11 -- but Mark Twain House & Museum members can get a jump on the sales. Tickets for members go on sale on Monday, April 7, also at 10:00 a.m.

Members will be issued a special code for these early purchases by e-mail. Non-members can join by clicking "Support Us" above, or by calling (860) 280-3112. With so few seats available to see Garrison Keillor, this is certain to sell out very quickly, so be sure to order early!

And it's one of the best deals out there -- tickets are only $15! There's also two added value bundles--buyers can get a ticket and Keillor's new book The Keillor Reader for $38, or buyers can get a ticket, the book and a CD (A Visit to Mark Twain's House with Garrison Keillor -- Live 1990 Broadcast) for $52.

Becoming a member of The Mark Twain House & Museum not only provides special advance ticket-sale opportunities for events like the Garrison Keillor appearance on May 18, which support the museum and its educational work, but also includes: Free admission to the house and museum; Year-round discounts in the Mark Twain Museum Store; Members-only gallery openings and social events; Discounts and first notice on many events; The twice-monthly e-newsletter, packed with useful information and Twainian lore.

To join, go to click on "Support Us' above, or call (860) 280-3112.

THE GARRISON KEILLOR EVENT HAS SOLD OUT!

Book Launch: "Live These Words" by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Tuesday, May 20, 7:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is excited that Lucinda Seacrest McDowell has chosen to launch her new book "Live These Words" here.

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller at heart who brings wit, wisdom and the "wow" factor to any event. A respected international conference speaker and author who has written for fifty different magazines, collaborated on twenty books and authored seven of her own, Cindy encourages both women and men to live transformed lives in God's grace and hope.

In addition to "Spa for the Soul ~ Rejuvenate Your Inner Life", Cindy has also written "Quilts From Heaven", "Amazed by Grace", "What We've Learned So Far", "Women's Spiritual Passages" and "A Southern-Style Christmas", earning Mt. Hermon's Writer of the Year Award. She holds degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University and also studied at the Wheaton Graduate School of Communication.

If you want to preorder a book, please click here.

This is a free event, but reservations are required. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Poetry: A Writing Course with John Stanizzi

Wednesday, May 21, through June 25, Wednesdays, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

This workshop will explore classic and contemporary poetry for both enlightenment and inspiration. Through our readings and discussions we will attempt to illuminate and hence better comprehend a wide range of poems and poets, with the hope that these readings/discussions will then inspire us to write our own poems, which will also be presented and discussed and critiqued. Some of our writing will be "guided" and some will be "wide open." We'll all have a hand at reading and discussing some great poems, and also reading and discussing our own work.

John L. Stanizzi has delighted readers and listeners throughout New England and beyond the Northeast. He is the author of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, now in its fourth printing, Sleepwalking, Windows, and Dance Against the Wall and After the Bell. His poems have appeared in The New York Quarterly, Tar River Poetry, The Spoon River Quarterly, The Connecticut River Review, and many other publications. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, in 1998 Stanizzi was named The New England Poet of the Year by The New England Association of Teachers of English. He teaches English at Manchester Community College.

$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Special Nook Farm Book Talk: "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair

Wednesday, May 21, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at The Mark Twain Museum Center

The Jungle is a 1906 book written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878"1968). Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. Many readers were most concerned with his exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century, based on an investigation he did for a socialist newspaper.

The book depicts working class poverty, the absence of social programs, harsh and unpleasant living and working conditions, and a hopelessness among many workers. These elements are contrasted with the deeply rooted corruption of people in power. A review by the writer Jack London called it, "the Uncle Tom's Cabin of wage slavery."

The discussion will be led by David Garnes. David was head of acquisitions and a reference librarian at the University of Connecticut, Storrs for 21 years. Prior to relocating to Connecticut in 1981, he worked at the Columbia University Libraries and as an English teacher in private secondary schools in New York. He is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University.

David is the author of many scholarly articles and, in most recent years, of three books: "After the War Was Over: Poems of an American Childhood"; a book of essays, "From My Life: Travels And Adventures"; and the forthcoming "Waitin' For The Train To Come In", a novel with a World War II setting. He is currently working on a second book of personal essays.

A longtime house manager/tour guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, David also works at a number of local arts organizations. He speaks frequently in Connecticut on topics of writing, caregiving, local history and volunteering. He has led many book discussions for the Connecticut Humanities.

This program is part of Connecticut at Work, a year-long conversation about the past, present and future of work life in Connecticut created by Connecticut Humanities.

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

BOOK/MARK: " An Atheist in the FOXhole: A Liberal's Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media" with author Joe Muto

Tuesday, May 27, 7:00 p.m.

The "Fox Mole""whose dispatches for Gawker made headlines in Businessweek, The Hollywood Reporter, and even on The New York Times website"delivers a funny, opinionated memoir of his eight years at the Fox News Channel working as an associate producer for Bill O'Reilly.

Imagine needing to hide your true beliefs just to keep a job you hated. Now imagine your job was producing the biggest show on the biggest cable news channel in America, and you'll get a sense of what life was like for Joe Muto. As a self-professed bleeding-heart, godless liberal, Joe's viewpoints clearly didn't mesh with his employer"especially his direct supervisor, Bill O'Reilly.

So he did what any ambitious, career-driven person would do. He destroyed his career, spectacularly. He became Gawker's so-called Fox Mole.

Joe's posts on Gawker garnered more than 2.5 million hits in one week. He released footage and information that Fox News never wanted exposed, including some extremely unflattering footage of Mitt Romney. The dragnet closed around him quickly"he was fired within thirty-six hours"so his best material never made it online. Unfortunate for his career as the Fox Mole, but a treasure trove for book readers.

"An Atheist in the FOXhole" has everything that liberals and Fox haters could desire: details about how Fox's right-wing ideology is promoted throughout the channel; why specific angles and personalities are the only ones broadcasted; the bizarre stories Fox anchors actually believed (and passed on to the public); and tales of behind-the-scenes mayhem and mistakes, all part of reporting Fox's version of the news.

This is a free event followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

One Month Until Deadline: Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest!

Friday, May 30,

"Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand." -- Mark Twain

Just one month until the deadline for The Mark Twain House & Museum's Inaugural "Royal Nonesuch" Humor Writing Contest for writers of all ages from all corners of the globe!

Recognizing that Samuel Clemens (aka: Mark Twain) began writing at an early age and to encourage other young authors, we welcome submissions for two categories:

Adult (age 18 and over at time of submission) at $22 per submission, and Young Author (age 17 and under at time of submission) at $12 per submission.

Celebrity Judges for Adults are: Roy Blount, Jr., Colin McEnroe, and Lucy Ferris.

Celebrity Judges for Young Authors are: Tim Federle, author of Better Nate Than Ever, and Jessica Lawson, author of The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher.

Submit your original humorous essays and stories for a chance at a cash prize, the opportunity to meet bestselling authors at our annual "Mark My Words" event, and best of all - bragging rights!

"If Mark Twain were alive, he'd be happy about this contest, because he'd win it." - Andy Borowitz

Submit online!

For more information, click here.

June

June


Symposium on "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn, discussion with his son, Jeff Zinn, author Nicolas Lampert, and Editor Marc Favreau

Wednesday, June 4, 7:00 p.m. at The Mark Twain Museum Center

On Wednesday, June 4, the classic book "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn will be discussed by his son, Jeff Zinn, Nicolas Lampert, author of "A People's Art History" of the United States, and editor Marc Favreau.

This free and informal book discussion is a collaboration between the The Mark Twain House & Museum, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, and Real Art Ways.

The discussion of "A People's History of the United States" will take place at The Mark Twain House & Museum at 7:00 p.m.

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, "A People's History of the United States" is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of -- and in the words of -- America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers.

Most people outside of the art world view art as something that is foreign to their experiences and everyday lives. "A People's Art History of the United States" places art history squarely in the rough-and-tumble of politics, social struggles, and the fight for justice from the colonial era through the present day.

Howard Zinn (1922 - 2010) was an American historian, author, playwright, and social activist. He was a political science professor at Boston University for 24 years and taught history at Spelman College for seven years. Zinn wrote more than 20 books, including his best-selling and influential "A People's History of the United States", which has sold more than two million copies. He wrote extensively about the civil rights and anti-war movements, and labor history of the United States.

Jeff Zinn is best known as the longtime artistic director of Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT) on Cape Cod. Under his leadership WHAT grew to become a nationally recognized professional theater presenting provocative new American plays for a diverse and appreciative regional audience. As an actor, he made his Equity debut as "Danny" in the original off-Broadway production of David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity In Chicago", starring F. Murray Abraham. As a director he developed new plays at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The White Barn Theatre, The West Bank Cafe, and Theater for the New City. He currently holds the post of Visiting Academic Professional of Drama/Theatre at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is also Adjunct Professor of Theater Studies at Clark University.

Nicolas Lampert is a Milwaukee-based interdisciplinary artist and author whose work focuses on themes of social justice and ecology. His artwork is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum, among others. His first book, "A People's Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements", was published in 2013 and is part of the People's History Series edited by Howard Zinn. Lampert is a full-time faculty member (academic staff appointment) in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a joint appointment in Printmaking and Writing and Critical Thinking.

Marc Favreau is the editorial director of The New Press. Authors he has worked with include Ira Berlin, Eric Hobsbawm, Lloyd Gardner, Nelson Lichtenstein, Ellen Schrecker, and Patricia Sullivan. A co-editor of "Remembering Slavery", he lives in New York City.

Free, secure parking is available at the Stowe Center (77 Forest St.) and The Mark Twain House & Museum (351 Farmington Avenue) parking lots.

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

BECK & CALL " The Servants Tour (Directed by HartBeat Ensemble's Steven Raider-Ginsburg)

Friday, June 6, Tours begin at 7:00 p.m.

Help! The servants at Mark Twain's House are expecting a full-on assault of overnight guests. With famous faces coming for an elegant dinner, three guest rooms to prepare and 25 rooms worth of dusting, the hired help may need a helping hand. With BECK & CALL, our fun, new interactive nighttime servants tour of The Mark Twain House, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Clemens home ship-shape for overnight entertaining. You may even be asked to pitch in! With costumed interpreters appearing throughout the house, fans of "Upstairs/Downtairs" and "Downton Abbey" will love this look at the organized chaos that it took to cook, clean and clothe the Clemens Family.

Special Added Attraction: Be among the first to see the 3rd floor Artists Friends Guest Room, reopened for the first time in two decades!

BECK & CALL " The Servants Tour - The first Friday of every month, April through September (except for July, which will be on the second Friday of that month)

Beck & Call is supported by the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor.

$22 for adults with discounts for children and members. Reservations required. For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Publishing Industry: A Writing Workshop with Matthew Dicks

Saturday, June 7, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The publishing industry is oftentimes a mysterious and impenetrable realm. The road that a book follows from the writer's mind to the shelves of a bookstore can be confusing, nebulous and uncertain. In this workshop, author Matthew Dicks will discuss the path that a book travels from the first words written on the page to its first appearance in a bookshop. Including in the workshop will be the sale of the book, the author-editor relationship, the complexities of publicity and marketing, the finances of publishing and much more.

Matthew Dicks is the author of the novels Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Something Missing and Unexpectedly, Milo and the rock opera The Clowns. He 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 public speaker, 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 10-time Moth StorySLAM champion and whose stories have been featured on the Moth Radio Hour and their weekly podcast. He has also told stories for TED, The Story Collider, Literary Death Match, The Mouth and many others. He is the co-founder and producer of Speak Up, a Hartford-based storytelling organization.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

The Mark Twain House & Museum presents Dan Brown, the author of 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Inferno,' in conversation with John Dankosky at The Bushnell

Saturday, June 7, 8:00 p.m. at The Bushnell,

Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and 'Inferno,' comes to The Bushnell in a fundraiser for The Mark Twain House & Museum.

It's a rare on-stage appearance for Brown, who will engage in conversation with WNPR radio personality John Dankosky, and a special opportunity for his many fans.

You don't need a symbologist to unravel the fact that this rare public appearance is certain to sell out, so be sure to order early!

Brown's novels are published in 52 languages around the world with 200 million copies in print.

"For me, a good thriller must teach me something about the real world," Brown has said. "...To my taste, a great thriller must also contain at its core a thought-provoking ethical debate or moral dilemma."

This event is sponsored by Link Mechanical Services, with special thanks to Brewster & Judith Perkins and Willis North America, Inc.

Call (860) 987-5900 or click here.Tickets range in price from $25 to $75. There are a limited number of $250 VIP tickets available that include a pre-event reception with a chance to meet and chat with Dan Brown; premium VIP orchestra seating locations at The Bushnell event; and a pre-signed copy of "Inferno".

The Trouble Begins at 5:30! "Mark Twain and George Griffin" With Bonnyeclaire Smith-Stewart

Wednesday, June 11, 5:00 p.m. reception; The Trouble Begins at 5:30 p.m.

Bonnyeclaire Smith-Stewart is an independent scholar from Atlanta working on a groundbreaking biography of George Griffin, the Clemens family's butler and dear friend. Born into slavery, Griffin is mentioned as Mark Twain's "Chief of Ordnance" in the foreword to "Huckleberry Finn" and lived to be escorted into Clemens' New York publisher's office by the author in a then-shocking display of black-white camaraderie. Along the way, he delved into politics, bookmaking and religion and provided endless entertainment and companionship for Mark Twain and the whole Clemens family. Presented in association with 'At Your Service,' an important new exhibition on the Clemens servants and their lives, opening March 13.

This is a Free Event! Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

An Evening with Alison Arngrim a.k.a. Nellie Oleson "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch"

Wednesday, June 11, 7:30 p.m.

Alison Arngrim, best known to viewers world-wide for her portrayal of the incredibly nasty "Nellie Oleson" on the much loved, long running hit television series "Little House On The Prairie," continues to amuse audiences through her many film, television and stage appearances. In addition to her seven years on "Little House," Alison guested on such cult classics as: "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island" and the NBC movie of the week, "I Married Wyatt Earp," starring Marie Osmond. She mocked her own status as an "ex-child star" on Jay Leno¹s Tonight Show, during their month long parody, "Hollywood Survivor".

As a stand-up comedian, Alison has headlined at nightclubs such as the Laugh Factory, the Comedy Store and the Improv in Los Angeles; as well as the Cutting Room in New York and assorted comedy venues all across the United States and Canada.

In 1986 when her friend and "Little House husband" co-star, Steve Tracy, passed away due to complications of HIV/AIDS, Alison immediately began volunteering at AIDS Project Los Angeles. Her duties have ranged from working on the Southern California AIDS Hotline and the APLA food bank, (APLA's Necessities of Life Program) to chairing the steering committee of the volunteer speakers bureau and developing "Safer Sex" workshops. She has provided AIDS education to doctors, nurses, prison inmates, service clubs, churches, department stores and schools, and spent seven years hosting the APLA educational cable television show, "AIDS Vision". In 1992, Joel Wachs presented Alison with a resolution by the Los Angeles City Council commending her on her work on behalf of people living with HIV and AIDS. She continues to serve on the Ambassador Council of AIDS Project Los Angeles.

"Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" is Alison Arngrim's comic memoir of growing up as one of television's most memorable characters"the devious Nellie Oleson on the hit television show "Little House on the Prairie". With behind-the-scenes stories from the set, as well as tales from her bohemian upbringing in West Hollywood and her headline-making advocacy work on behalf of HIV awareness and abused children, "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" is a must for fans of everything Little House: the classic television series and its many stars like Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert; Gilbert's bestselling memoir Prairie Tale... and, of course, the beloved series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder that started it all.

Sponsored by The Hartford

$20; $15 fpr MTH&M members. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

"WHAT'S THIS CANADIAN HUMOR ALL ABOOT, EH?" - Readings by Leacock Award Winners

Thursday, June 12, 7:00 p.m.

Stephen Butler Leacock was an English-born Canadian teacher, political scientist, writer, and humourist. In the early part of the 20th century he was the best-known humorist in the English-speaking world. He is known for his light humour along with criticisms of people's follies. The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour was named in his honor. Stephen Leacock was a winner of the Mark Twain medal, and he also wrote a biography of Mark Twain, published in 1932, The Leacock Memorial Medal is a prestigious annual honour, accompanied by a $15,000 prize from TD Financial Group, awarded for the best in Canadian humour writing. The award has attained an international reputation and is the only one of its kind for Canadian humour writing. 2014 Award Winners will be performing reading at The Mark Twain Museum Center at this event.

This is a Free Event! Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Tom Sawyer Day

Saturday, June 14, 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, a rope trick artist, pony rides, music and much more!

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

And we'll again be offering our Magical History Tour, as free buses transport visitors to another big celebration that day -- the Juneteenth Family Day at the Wadsworth Atheneum, run by the Amistad Center for Art and Culture. And our neighbor, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, celebrates Stowe's 203rd birthday with horse-drawn carriage rides, activities and Harriet herself.

Tom Sawyer Day is supported in part by the Greater Hartford Art Council's United Arts Campaign, The Saint Francis Foundation, and the Evelyn W. Preston Memorial Trust Fund, Bank of America, Trustee.

Free!

Author Rachel Swarns: "American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama"

Tuesday, June 17, 7:00 p.m.

At the Harriett Beecher Stowe Center.

A remarkable history of First Lady Michelle Obama's mixed ancestry, "American Tapestry" by Rachel Swarns is nothing less than a breathtaking and expansive portrait of America itself.

In this extraordinary feat of genealogical research"in the tradition of The Hemmingses of Monticello and Slaves in the Family"author Swarns, a respected Washington-based reporter for the New York Times, tells the fascinating and hitherto untold story of Ms. Obama's black, white, and multiracial ancestors; a history that the First Lady herself did not know.

At once epic, provocative, and inspiring, "American Tapestry" is more than a true family saga; it is an illuminating mirror in which we may all see ourselves.

Rachel L. Swarns is a columnist for The New York Times. Her weekly column, "The Working Life," focuses on work, the workplace and the evolving New York City economy. She joined the The Times in 1995 and has written about domestic policy and national politics, reporting on immigration, the presidential campaigns of 2004 and 2008 and First Lady Michelle Obama and her role in the Obama White House. She has also worked overseas for The Times, reporting from Russia, Cuba and southern Africa. In Africa, where she served as Johannesburg bureau chief, she reported on the turmoil in Zimbabwe, the challenges of racial reconciliation in South Africa and the civil war in Angola. In recent years, she had focused her attention on shifting demographics and the modern American family. Prior to joining The Times, Ms. Swarns worked for The Miami Herald, reporting from Haiti and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and covered both the Los Angeles riots and the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. She started her career at the St. Petersburg Times. She received her B.A. from Howard University, with a major in Spanish and a minor in African/Caribbean studies, and received her M.A. in international relations from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England.

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

BOOK/MARK: "The Happy Atheist" with author PZ Myers

Wednesday, June 18, 7:00 p.m.

On his popular science blog, Pharyngula, PZ Myers has entertained millions of readers with his infectious love of evolutionary science and his equally infectious disdain for creationism, biblical literalism, intelligent design theory, and other products of godly illogic. This funny and fearless book collects and expands on some of his most popular writings, giving the religious fanaticism of our times gleeful disrespect by skewering the apocalyptic fantasies, magical thinking, hypocrisies, and pseudoscientific theories advanced by religious fundamentalists of all stripes.

With a healthy appreciation of the absurd, Myers not only pokes fun at the tenets of popular religions but also highlights how the persistence of Stone Age superstitions can have dark consequences: interfering with our politics, slowing our scientific progress, and limiting freedom in our culture.

Forceful and articulate, scathing and funny, "The Happy Atheist" is a reaffirmation of the revelatory power of humor and the truth-revealing powers of science and reason.

This is a free event followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf: "Fame"

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

"The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf -- and invites stories about fame.

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 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.

Deven Green: Electric Ukulele Lounge Act " In Concert!

Saturday, June 21, 7:00 p.m.

Deven Green, the star of BETTY BOWERS: AMERICA'S BEST CHRISTIAN and the "Welcome to My..." Parody videos on YouTube, brings her electric ukulele lounge act to the Mark Twain Museum Center on Saturday, June 21st! Join us for one of the funniest, most subversive comediennes working today.

Deven started out as a professional figure skater whose triple-gold medal status is memorialized in her hometown located in the remote, boreal, tundra of Northern Canada. After landing in Toronto she perfected her comedic sensibilities and appeared in commercials, voice overs, TV and movie roles. This bon vivant then moved to Los Angeles where she currently resides and continues to create more comedy, music, and videos with her unmistakeable brand of inscrutable lexicon. Enjoying a plethora of awards, millions of views and a legion of fervent followers, Deven is now considered 'legendary.' She is indeed the nefarious creator/voice of the "Welcome To My Home" parodies, is the satirical "America's Best Christian - Betty Bowers," and, is the spokesmodel for OCCmakeup! You have seen her on RuPaul's Drag Race and performing her convivial eclectic music act across the country!

$25 with discounts for members. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK: The Gay Christian Conundrum - Three Authors Discuss Their Journeys

Tuesday, June 24, 7:00 p.m.

On Tuesday June 24, at 7:00 p.m., The Mark Twain House & Museum and the Hartford Seminary invite you to a talk about the challenges of balancing faith and homosexuality. This talk will include three authors who have written books on the subject: Jeff Chu, author of "Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God;" Justin Lee, author of "Torn: Rescuing The Gospel From the Gays-vs.-Christian Debate," and Chris Stedman, author of "Fathiest: How An Atheist Found Common Ground With The Religious."

All the authors personally struggled with the supposed dichotomy of their faith and being gay. Chu and Lee came to the conclusion that there was nothing mutually exclusive about the being a gay Christian, and embraced their faith. Stedman ended up personally rejecting religion, but seeks to dialogue with people of faith. Their books tell their life stories and about their investigations, and they will discuss the books and their own journeys at this Book/Mark event.

About the Books

Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America is part memoir and part investigative analysis that explores the explosive and confusing intersection of faith, politics, and sexuality in Christian America. The quest to find an answer is at the heart of Does Jesus Really Love Me?--a personal journey of belief, an investigation, and a portrait of a faith and a nation at odds by award-winning reporter Jeff Chu. Funny and heartbreaking, perplexing and wise, this book is an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual pilgrimage that reveals a nation in crisis.

As a teenager and young man, Justin Lee felt deeply torn. Nicknamed "God Boy" by his peers, he knew that he was called to a life in the evangelical Christian ministry. But Lee harbored a secret: He also knew that he was gay. In this groundbreaking book Torn: Rescuing The Gospel From the Gays-vs.-Christian Debate, Lee recalls the events--his coming out to his parents, his experiences with the "ex-gay" movement, and his in-depth study of the Bible--that led him, eventually, to self-acceptance. Convinced that "in a culture that sees gays and Christians as enemies, gay Christians are in a unique position to bring peace," Lee demonstrates that people of faith on both sides of the debate can respect, learn from, and love one another.

Fathiest is the story of a former Evangelical Christian turned openly gay atheist who now works to bridge the divide between atheists and the religious. Becoming aware of injustice, and craving community, Chris Stedman became a "born-again" Christian in late childhood. But Stedman's religious community did not embody this idea of God's love: they were staunchly homophobic at a time when he was slowly coming to realize that he was gay. In Faitheist, Stedman draws on his work organizing interfaith and secular communities, his academic study of religion, and his own experiences to argue for the necessity of bridging the growing chasm between atheists and the religious.

About the Authors

Over his eclectic journalistic career, Jeff Chu has interviewed presidents and paupers, corporate execs and preachers, Britney Spears and Ben Kingsley. As a writer and editor for Time, Conde Nast Portfolio, and Fast Company, he has compiled a portfolio that includes stories on megahit-making Swedish songwriters, James Bond, undercover missionaries in the Arab world, and the decline of Christianity in Europe. The nephew and grandson of Baptist preachers, he is an elder at Old First Reformed Church in Brooklyn, New York.

Justin Lee is the founder of the Gay Christian Network (GCN), a nonprofit organization that provides resources and support to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians. Lee founded GCN to "build a supportive community to support fellow gay Christians in their Christian walks."

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.

This is a free BOOK/MARK event, and is followed by a book sale and signing.

This is a free event followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Mac Griswold author of The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island

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

"The Manor" is the biography of a uniquely American place that has endured through wars great and small, through fortunes won and lost, through histories bright and sinister " and of the family that has lived at the manor since its founding as a Northern slave plantation three and a half centuries ago. Sylvester Manor had been held in the same family for eleven generations.

Formerly encompassing all of Shelter Island, a pearl of 8,000 acres caught between the North and South Forks of Long Island, the manor had dwindled to 243 acres. Still, its hidden vault proved to be full of revelations and treasures, including the 1666 charter for the land, and correspondence from Thomas Jefferson. Most notable was the short and steep flight of steps the family had called the "slave staircase," which would provide clues to the extensive but little-known story of Northern slavery. Alongside a team of archaeologists, Griswold began a dig that would uncover a landscape bursting with stories.

Based on years of archival and field research, as well as voyages to Africa, the West Indies, and Europe, The Manor is at once an investigation into forgotten lives and a sweeping drama that captures our history in all its richness and suffering.

Mac Griswold is a cultural landscape historian and the author of "Washington's Gardens at Mount Vernon" and "The Golden Age of American Gardens." She has won a Guggenheim Fellowship and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Travel + Leisure.

This is free event followed by a book sale and signing. Registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

Writing about Animals & the Natural World: A Saturday Afternoon Writing Workshop with Megan Mayhew Bergman

Saturday, June 28, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

We'll discuss how to translate inspiration and obsession into essays, stories, and op-eds. We'll focus on how to avoid common pitfalls when writing about animals, and how to push past tired observations on the natural world and instead create compelling work that is insightful and moving.

Megan Mayhew Bergman is an award-winning writer whose work has been published in "The Best American Short Stories," Salon, and countless literary magazines. Her first short story collection, "Birds of a Lesser Paradise," was selected as a "Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers" pick of 2012.

Cost for this unique workshop is $40. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Saturday, June 28, 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.

Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Deadline: Royal Nonesuch National Humor Writing Contest

Monday, June 30,

"Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand." -- Mark Twain

Today's the deadline for The Mark Twain House & Museum's Inaugural "Royal Nonesuch" Humor Writing Contest for writers of all ages from all corners of the globe!

Recognizing that Samuel Clemens (aka: Mark Twain) began writing at an early age and to encourage other young authors, we welcome submissions for two categories:

Adult (age 18 and over at time of submission) at $22 per submission, and Young Author (age 17 and under at time of submission) at $12 per submission.

Celebrity Judges for Adults are: Roy Blount, Jr., Colin McEnroe, and Lucy Ferris.

Celebrity Judges for Young Authors are: Tim Federle, author of Better Nate Than Ever, and Jessica Lawson, author of The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher.

Submit your original humorous essays and stories for a chance at a cash prize, the opportunity to meet bestselling authors at our annual "Mark My Words" event, and best of all - bragging rights!

"If Mark Twain were alive, he'd be happy about this contest, because he'd win it." - Andy Borowitz

Submit online!

For more information, click here.

July

July


The Hartford Circus Fire - 70th Anniversary Commemoration - THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT!

Sunday, July 6, 2:00 p.m.

On July 6th, 1944, happy families descended on Barbour Street in Hartford for the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus. When the big top went up in flames, 700 people were injured and almost 170 people lost their lives. Authors Stewart O'Nan ("The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy") and Mike Skidgell (the just-published "The Hartford Circus Fire: Tragedy Under the Big Top") join us to discuss their books on the largest circus fire tragedy in American history.

Presented in partnership with the Hartford Courant and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

This event is now SOLD OUT!

BOOK/MARK: "The Boy in His Winter--An American Novel" by Norman Lock

Tuesday, July 8, 7:00 p.m.

Launched into existence by Mark Twain, Huck Finn and Jim have now been transported by Norman Lock through three vital, violent, and transformative centuries of American history. As time unfurls on the river's banks, they witness decisive battles of the Civil War, the betrayal of Reconstruction's promises to the freed slaves, the crushing of Native American nations, and the electrification of a continent. Huck, who finally comes of age when he's washed up on shore during Hurricane Katrina, narrates the story as an older and wiser man in 2077, revealing our nation's past, present, and future as Mark Twain could never have dreamed it.

"The Boy in His Winter" is a tour-de-force work of imagination, beauty, and courage that re-envisions a great American literary classic for our time.

Norman Lock, a recipient of the Aga Khan Prize from The Paris Review and a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, is the author of many works of fiction, including "Love Among the Particles", a Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year. He lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

This is a free event followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30! "Mark Twain and Katy Leary" with Virginia Wolf

Wednesday, July 9, 5:00 p.m. reception; The Trouble Begins at 5:30 p.m.

Wolf is an actress, radio show host and founder of Herstory Theater, a troupe devoted to the stage presentation of women's history (www.herstory.com). She presents the extraordinary personality of Katy Leary, born into an Irish-American family in Elmira, New York, who served as the Clemenses' maid from 1880 until Samuel Clemens' death in 1910. Leary dictated a memoir, "A Lifetime with Mark Twain," published in 1925. Wolf, long a historical interpreter at The Mark Twain House & Museum, has made a special study of the irrepressible and expressive Leary, and will present her story in character. Clemens called Leary a "potent influence all over the premises" and "a pole star for steadiness" with "a good store of that veiled & shimmering & half-surreptitious humor which is the best feature of the "American' brand " or any other brand, for that matter." Presented in association with "At Your Service," an important new exhibition on the Clemens servants and their lives, opening March 13.

This is a Free Event! Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Nook Farm Book Talk: "Americanah"

Thursday, July 10, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at the Harriett Beecher Stowe Center

"Americanah" is a powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of "Half of a Yellow Sun". Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion"for each other and for their homeland.

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

Book Launch: "In the Field of Grace" by Tessa Afshar

Thursday, July 10, 7:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is excited that Tessa Afshar has chosen to launch her new book, "In The Field of Grace" here.

Two women. Alone. With no provision. Can a woman who has lost everything, except her beloved mother, find hope in a foreign land?

Ruth leaves her home with a barren womb and an empty future, after losing her husband. She forsakes her abusive parents and follows the woman she has grown to love as a true parent, her husband's mother, Naomi.

Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. She is destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation. She is reduced to gathering leftovers once the harvesters have finished collecting grain from the field. A job only for the lowest of the low. But God has other plans for her life.

Tessa Afshar was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 for her novel "Pearl in the Sand". Her book, "Harvest of Rubies" was nominated for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category and won the Grace Award for best Women's Fiction in the same year. World Magazine chose "Harvest of Rubies" as one of four notable books of the year.

Tessa was born in Iran and moved to England at fourteen where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship.

The free event will include dramatic presentations, special music by Hartford Symphony Concertmaster Leonid Sigal, and a reception with Jewish treats.

Connecticut actresses Jennifer Ramos and Heather Spada will portray Ruth and Naomi in scenes from In the Field of Grace, based on the Book of Ruth, and will sing "I'm With You," the Nicole Nordeman tune inspired by the biblical text. Afshar will read a portion of Ruth in Hebrew and will be interviewed by author Lucinda Secrest McDowell who will moderate a Q&A with the audience.

< Sponsored by River North / Moody Publishers.

This is a Free Event! Reservations are recommended. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BECK & CALL " The Servants Tour (Directed by HartBeat Ensemble's Steven Raider-Ginsburg)

Friday, July 11, Tours begin at 7:00 p.m.

Help! The servants at Mark Twain's House are expecting a full-on assault of overnight guests. With famous faces coming for an elegant dinner, three guest rooms to prepare and 25 rooms worth of dusting, the hired help may need a helping hand. With BECK & CALL, our fun, new interactive nighttime servants tour of The Mark Twain House, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Clemens home ship-shape for overnight entertaining. You may even be asked to pitch in! With costumed interpreters appearing throughout the house, fans of "Upstairs/Downtairs" and "Downton Abbey" will love this look at the organized chaos that it took to cook, clean and clothe the Clemens Family.

Special Added Attraction: Be among the first to see the 3rd floor Artists Friends Guest Room, reopened for the first time in two decades!

BECK & CALL " The Servants Tour - The first Friday of every month, April through September (except for July, which will be on the second Friday of that month)

Beck & Call is supported by the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor.

$22 for adults with discounts for children and members. Reservations required. For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

"Inspired By: Using Actual Events to Spark Fiction" with Steven Parlato-- A Summer Writing Camp for Tweens! (ages 12-15)

Monday, July 14, July 14-17, 5:00 to 7:00 PM (Four consecutive nights)

We will use actual events (and perhaps other literary works) as inspiration. We'll draw on both news-worthy and personal stories to inform our fiction. Focused on capturing emotional rather than factual truth, we might also experiment with using a piece of classic literature as a springboard to creativity.

$120 for four nights. Register by calling (860) 280-3130 or clicking the ticket link here for tickets.

Kindling the Spark: Fiction Writing Camp for Teens with Leslie Connor (for ages 14-17)

Monday, July 14, July 14-17, 5:00 to 7:00 PM (Four consecutive nights)

Fiction for Teens with Leslie Connor (for ages 14-17) July 14-17, 5:00 to 7:00 PM (Four consecutive nights) Put that long school year behind you. Summer's here! This is your time to write about what matters to you using language, sounds and rhythms that feel true to you. Come discover the creative embers you've been collecting. Learn how to use imagination and observation to expand your ideas and one-liners into poetry or song lyrics, craft a short story, or begin a novel. Come be a part of this supportive environment. There are no grades, no exams, and no erring on the side of caution. We'll "play" with open-ended prompts that will kindle your creative spark, and help you naturally improve your craft. Leslie Connor is a genre-hopping, award-winning, children's book author. A two-time Connecticut Book Award Winner, she has also received the IRA's prize for primary fiction, and ALA's Schnieder Family Book Award. She is a frequent visitor to schools and libraries, and especially enjoys leading creative writing workshops for people of all ages. Leslie lives in the Connecticut woods with her husband and three rescued Writing Dogs.

$120 for four nights. Register by calling (860) 280-3130 or clicking the ticket link here for tickets.

BOOK/MARK: "Longbourn" with author Jo Baker

Wednesday, July 16, 7:00 p.m.

In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to "Pride and Prejudice", the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants' hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

In "Longbourn", Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen's classic"into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars"and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own.

This is a free event followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Writing for Middle Grades: A Writing Workshop with Hugh Ryan

Saturday, July 19, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

To young for YA, too old for picture books - what do ten-year-olds read? Author Hugh Ryan has written more than a dozen middle grade books, both fiction and nonfiction. Join him for a discussion of writing for this often forgotten audience.

Hugh Ryan is the ghostwriter behind a dozen middle grade and young adult books, published by Scholastic, HarperCollins, and Aladdin (Simon & Schuster). He helped define and launch two recent middle grade series, Scholastic's SPY ACADEMY and Aladdin's THE HARDY BOYS: SECRET FILES. As well, Ryan's adult nonfiction has been published in The New York Times, Tin House, Salon, Slate, The Writer's Chronicle, and elsewhere. For more information, visit his website, www.hughryan.org.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Twain's Companions & Cohorts: A Walking Tour of Cedar Hill Cemetery with Steve Courtney

Saturday, July 19, 10 a.m. at the flagpole, Cedar Hill Cemetery, 453 Fairfield Ave., Hartford

Our annual collaboration with the Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation explores Hartford's extraordinary Victorian burial ground, an outdoor museum of the Gilded Age. While Mark Twain is buried in Elmira, N.Y., many of his Hartford friends and associates found their final resting place in Cedar Hill's beautiful grounds. On this hour-and-a-half walking tour, hear the extraordinary stories of some brilliant individuals, some feisty characters and a crank or two. Steve Courtney, biographer of Twain's Hartford friend Joe Twichell and author of two books on the Mark Twain House, leads the tour. "Your sponsored tour this past summer at the Cedar Hill Cemetery was one of the best tours we have taken," wrote a visitor. "We would love to return there. The historian who led the tour was fantastic!"

$5.00, payable at the site of the tour; no reservations, just show up!

Critiquing Your Writing with Lauren Baratz-Logsted (for ages 14-17)

Monday, July 21, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm (July 21-24, 4 consecutive nights)

Would you like to learn how to be a better writer? Probably the most valuable thing any aspiring writer can learn is how to use criticism to make the work stronger. In this four-night workshop, participants are invited to bring one-page writing samples to the very first class and we'll get to as many as possible. There will also be time for questions and answers about writing and publishing.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 30 published books. She has written for adults, teens and children in almost every genre imaginable. Visit www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com for more about her life and work.

$120 for four nights. Register by calling (860) 280-3130 or clicking the ticket link here for tickets.

"I Know You Are, But What Am I?": A Summer Writing Camp for Tweens!

Monday, July 21, July 21-24, 5:00 to 7:00 PM (four consecutive nights)

Writing Your Identity with Erin Klemyk (for ages 11-14) July 21-24, 5:00 to 7:00 PM

"I Know You Are, But What Am I?": Looking at How We Define Who We Are Within Our Relationships With Others

Students will look at short stories from John Updike, James Thurber, Alice Walker, and Ursula LeGuin that examine how individuals behave in the context of their relationships with their peers, significant others, family members, and society. They will then be encouraged to write reflective pieces of their own and think about the person they present in different contexts.

Erin McNamara studied American Studies and Creative Writing at Skidmore College. She taught Upper School English and Fiction Writing at Watkinson School in Hartford for six years and worked under Beverly Hunter-Daniel for the PROSPECT summer program at Wesleyan University for five years. In 2009, she received an NEH grant to study The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn at the Mark Twain House. She currently works as a riding instructor/horse trainer at Folly Farm in Simsbury and as a wrangler of twin boys when at home.

$120 for four nights. Register by calling (860) 280-3130 or clicking the ticket link here for tickets.

Amy Goodman - "The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance and Hope"

Monday, July 21, 7:00 p.m.

As host and producer of "Democracy Now!", a daily, international news program, Amy Goodman provides the public with free, diverse, and independent access to people and viewpoints rarely heard in mainstream media. Her work as an investigative reporter and journalist has been recognized by the Associated Press, United Press International, and PULSE who named her one of the Top 20 Global Media Figures in 2009.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

Presented in partnership with Heartbeat Ensemble.

Sponsored by The Hartford.

$20/$15 for MTH&M members. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Critiquing Your Writing with Lauren Baratz-Logsted (for ages 14-17)

Monday, July 21, July 21-24, 5:00 to 7:00 PM

Would you like to learn how to be a better writer? Probably the most valuable thing any aspiring writer can learn is how to use criticism to make the work stronger. In this four-night workshop, participants are invited to bring one-page writing samples to the very first class and we'll get to as many as possible. There will also be time for questions and answers about writing and publishing. Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 30 published books. She has written for adults, teens and children in almost every genre imaginable. Visit www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com for more about her life and work.

$120 for four nights. Register by calling (860) 280-3130 or clicking the ticket link here for tickets.

Book Launch! THE VIRTUES OF OXYGEN by Susan Schoenberger

Tuesday, July 22, 6:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is proud to host the launch of award-winning author and Twain writing instructor SUSAN SCHOENBERGER's brand new novel, THE VIRTUES OF OXYGEN.

From the acclaimed author of "A Watershed Year" comes a heartrending story of unlikely bonds made under dire straits. Holly is a young widow with two kids living in a ramshackle house in the same small town where she grew up wealthy. Now barely able to make ends meet editing the town's struggling newspaper, she manages to stay afloat with help from her family. Then her mother suffers a stroke, and Holly's world begins to completely fall apart.

Vivian has lived an extraordinary life, despite the fact that she has been confined to an iron lung since contracting polio as a child. Her condition means she requires constant monitoring, and the close-knit community joins together to give her care and help keep her alive. As their town buckles under the weight of the Great Recession, Holly and Vivian, two very different women both touched by pain, forge an unlikely alliance that may just offer each an unexpected salvation.

6:30 p.m. Reception

7:00 p.m. Book Discussion

FREE event followed by book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Our Ice Cream Social!

Thursday, July 24, 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 6th 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.

Performing will be Horizon Blue, who are an acoustic Americana (folk, country and blue grass) musical group. Their performances are conversational, and inviting. The original songs they perform have a storytelling aspect and are well received by audiences of all ages. They also include songs in their performance that are well known to everyone.

Plus, Jessica Lawson, the author of the new young adult book The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, will be on hand. Her book is being published on July 1, and there will be a book sale and signing at the ice cream social.

In addition, there will be a Becky Thatcher-themed scavenger hunt, lawn games, and discounted tours of the first floor of the Mark Twain House ($5 for adults, seniors, and children; under age 6 free).

Come have a pleasant summer evening of free ice cream, music, and more on the grounds of the historic Mark Twain House!

Generous support provided by the Evelyn W. Preston Memorial Trust Fund, Bank of America, Trustee.

This is a free event!

GET A CLUE Tours!

Thursday, July 24, Tours step off every 15 minutes beginning at 7 p.m. Reservations required.

Who killed that varmint Pap Finn??? 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 for tickets.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, July 25, and Saturday, July 26; 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.

Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK: Book launch of "The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy: A Novel" by Jacopo della Quercia

Thursday, July 31, 7:00 p.m.

This historical thriller is an equal-parts cocktail of action, adventure, science-fiction and comedy. The book follows a globe-trotting President Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln in a race to solve a mystery stretching back to the Civil War and the Lincoln assassination. Based on true events, readers will find themselves swept into a vast conspiracy spanning four continents and three oceans during the turn of the century. Fascinating technologies will be harnessed, dark secrets revealed, true villains exposed, and some of the most famous figures in history will take the stage. With surprises lurking around every corner, and a vast cast of characters to root for, Jacopo della Quercia's "The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy" is a heart-pounding adventure that only history could have made possible.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

This is a free event, but reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Aug

August


BECK & CALL " The Servants Tour (Directed by HartBeat Ensemble's Steven Raider-Ginsburg)

Friday, August 1, Tours begin at 7:00 p.m.

Help! The servants at Mark Twain's House are expecting a full-on assault of overnight guests. With famous faces coming for an elegant dinner, three guest rooms to prepare and 25 rooms worth of dusting, the hired help may need a helping hand. With BECK & CALL, our fun, new interactive nighttime servants tour of The Mark Twain House, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Clemens home ship-shape for overnight entertaining. You may even be asked to pitch in! With costumed interpreters appearing throughout the house, fans of "Upstairs/Downtairs" and "Downton Abbey" will love this look at the organized chaos that it took to cook, clean and clothe the Clemens Family.

Special Added Attraction: Be among the first to see the 3rd floor Artists Friends Guest Room, reopened for the first time in two decades!

BECK & CALL " The Servants Tour - The first Friday of every month, April through September (except for July, which will be on the second Friday of that month)

Beck & Call is supported by the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor.

$22 for adults with discounts for children and members. Reservations required. For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

An Evening with Ralph Nader - In Conversation With Bill Curry

Thursday, August 14, 7:00 p.m.--preceded by a VIP reception at 5:30 p.m.

Ralph Nader will be in conversation with Bill Curry, two-time Democratic nominee for Governor of Connecticut and a White House advisor in the administration of Bill Clinton.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author.

He was born in Winsted, Connecticut in 1934. In 1955 Ralph Nader received an AB magna cum laude from Princeton University, and in 1958 he received a LLB with distinction from Harvard University.

His career began as a lawyer in Hartford, Connecticut in 1959 and from 1961-63 he lectured on history and government at the University of Hartford.

In 1965-66 he received the Nieman Fellows award and was named one of ten Outstanding Young Men of Year by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1967. Between 1967-68 he returned to Princeton as a lecturer, and he continues to speak at colleges and universities across the United States.

In his career as consumer advocate he founded many organizations including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center, the Project for Corporate Responsibility and The Multinational Monitor (a monthly magazine).

Tickets are $30 / $25 for members. $65 includes pre-reception with Ralph Nader starting at 5:30 p.m.

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

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, August 22, and Saturday, August 23, 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.

Sept

September


Nook Farm Book Talk: "Vanished Downtown Hartford" with Daniel Sterner

Wednesday, September 3, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Early nineteenth-century illustrations of Hartford, Connecticut, show church steeples towering over the Victorian homes and brownstone faades of businesses around them. The modern skyline of the town has lost many of these elegant steeples and their quaint and smaller neighbors. Banks have yielded to newer banks, and organizations like the YMCA are now parking lots. In the 1960s, Constitution Plaza replaced an entire neighborhood on Hartford's east side. The city has evolved in the name of progress, allowing treasured buildings to pass into history. Those buildings that survive have been repurposed--the Old State House, built in 1796, is one of the oldest and has found new life as a museum. Yet the memory of these bygone landmarks and scenes has not been lost. Historian Daniel Sterner recalls the lost face of downtown and preserves the historic landmarks that still remain with this nostalgic exploration of Hartford's structural evolution.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

BECK & CALL The Servants Tour (Directed by HartBeat Ensemble's Steven Raider-Ginsburg)

Friday, September 5, Tours begin at 7:00 p.m.

Help! The servants at Mark Twain's House are expecting a full-on assault of overnight guests. With famous faces coming for an elegant dinner, three guest rooms to prepare and 25 rooms worth of dusting, the hired help may need a helping hand. With BECK & CALL, our fun, new interactive nighttime servants tour of The Mark Twain House, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Clemens home ship-shape for overnight entertaining. You may even be asked to pitch in! With costumed interpreters appearing throughout the house, fans of "Upstairs/Downtairs" and "Downton Abbey" will love this look at the organized chaos that it took to cook, clean and care for the Clemens Family.

Special Added Attraction: Be among the first to see the 3rd floor Artists Friends Guest Room, reopened for the first time in two decades!

BECK & CALL The Servants Tour - The first Friday of every month, April through September (except for July, which will be on the second Friday of that month)

Beck & Call is supported by the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor.

$22 for adults with discounts for children and members. Reservations required. For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Writing Historical Biography: A Workshop with Vladimir Alexandrov

Saturday, September 6, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This workshop will cover all aspects of creating a non-fiction book for publication by a trade press, specifically--a biography of a person from the past.  Topics to include--subjects that trade presses might find attractive, how to research your subject, write the book, write a proposal, find and pitch an agent, work with a publishing house when your book is sold, and publicize the book both before and after it appears.  The workshop will be based on Vladimir Alexandrov's experiences with The Black Russian, the biography of the son of former slaves in Mississippi who became a millionaire entrepreneur in tsarist Moscow and the "Sultan of Jazz" in Constantinople (for more, see www.valexandrov.com).  The book was published by Grove/Atlantic (NYC) and Head of Zeus (London) in hardcover and paperback in 2013/14, has gotten great reviews, and is forthcoming in Russia and Turkey;  it has also been optioned for a film or TV series, and there is a musical version in the works.  Vladimir will also refer to his preliminary research on two other possible book subjects dealing with the American Civil War, and to his current project--a new biography of Boris Savinkov, a Russian revolutionary and terrorist who fought the tsar, Lenin, and the Bolsheviks.

Vladimir teaches Russian literature at Yale, and after publishing a number of books on academic topics switched to trade-press non-fiction.  He gave a book talk at the Mark Twain House and Museum last winter and also participated in its "Writer's Weekend" last spring.

$40. Tickets can be purchased here or at (860) 280-3130.

Book/Mark - THE SCARLET SISTERS: Sex, Suffrage and Scandal in the Gilded Age with Myra MacPherson

Tuesday, September 9, 7:00 p.m.

Victoria Woodhull and Tennesee “Tennie” Clafin were two women before their time, supporting women’s political and sexual rights. Author Myra MacPherson brings to life these scarlet sisters, including the affairs with Vanderbilts, the candidacy to be female president, and their muck-raking newspaper that caused controversy in Nook Farm and beyond!

Presented in collaboration with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

 

 

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

BOOK/MARK: "Abortion in the American Imagination: Before Life and Choice 1880-1940" with Karen Weingarten

Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m. at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

The public debate on abortion stretches back much further than Roe v. Wade, to long before the terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" were ever invented. Yet the ways Americans discussed abortion in the early decades of the twentieth century had little in common with our now-entrenched debates about personal responsibility and individual autonomy.

Abortion in the American Imagination returns to the moment when American writers first dared to broach the controversial subject of abortion. What was once a topic avoided by polite society, only discussed in vague euphemisms behind closed doors, suddenly became open to vigorous public debate as it was represented everywhere from sensationalistic melodramas to treatises on social reform. Literary scholar and cultural historian Karen Weingarten shows how these discussions were remarkably fluid and far-ranging, touching upon issues of eugenics, economics, race, and gender roles.

Weingarten traces the discourses on abortion across a wide array of media, putting fiction by canonical writers like William Faulkner, Edith Wharton, and Langston Hughes into conversation with the era's films, newspaper articles, and activist rhetoric. By doing so, she exposes not only the ways that public perceptions of abortion changed over the course of the twentieth century, but also the ways in which these abortion debates shaped our very sense of what it means to be an American.

Presented in collaboration with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

 

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf: "Accidents"

Friday, September 12, 7:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf -- and invites stories about accidents.

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 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.

BOOK/MARK: "Trackrat: Memoir Of A Fan" with Mr. Bob Englehart Jr.

Tuesday, September 16, 7:00 p.m.

The Hartford Courant's Bob Englehart will discuss his new book "Trackrat" in a panel with other racecar celebrities.

The panel will consist of:

Shawn Courchesne, moderator, is the creator and editor of the website RaceDayCT.com. He spent nearly 19 years as a sportswriter for the Hartford Courant before leaving the paper in May 2012.

Sean Foster, 28, following in his father’s and brother’s footsteps, started racing Limited Late Models at Stafford Motor Speedway in 2006. He was the track champion in the division in 2007. Today, he races an SK Modified at the track every Friday night.

Renee Dupuis, 41, is the first and only only female driver to win a feature race at the now closed Riverside Park Speedway. She was the first woman to record a top ten finish in the Whelen Modified Tour. In 2011, she was the first and only woman to compete in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Today, Renee is the only woman racing on the WMT.

Ed Flemke Jr., 59, is a racecar driver and builder of modifieds as co-owner of Raceworks Chassis. He’s raced on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour since 1988 and full-time on the tour since 1992. He has 17 career victories in 439 starts with 91 top-five finishes. He is semi-retired from racing as of 2014.

About the book:

What compels a young man or woman to spend ungodly amounts of money driving a racecar every weekend at the local track, risking life and limb at 150 miles an hour, entertaining friends and total strangers?

Author editorial cartoonist Bob Englehart had to find out after witnessing the tragic wreck that killed Boston-area driver Shane Hammond at Thompson International Speedway. This non-fiction book explores a slice of American culture, the short track racing obsession, and how the author became a fan as a child, bedridden for a year by rheumatic fever with only his imagination, pencils, and watercolors to pass the time.

The author writes about his parents' divorces and remarriages during an era when divorce was rare, giving him and his brother Tim a stigma in their neighborhood in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The author discovers the extraordinary motivation behind Shane Hammond's desire to race by a chance encounter with his mother and younger brother in the pits at the last race of the season.

"Trackrat: Memoir of a Fan" is about love of family in spite of the complexity and confusion it may involve and the author's working class heroes on the track. This isn't NASCAR; this is your neighbor.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

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

Base Ball in Twains Time: A Panel Discussion by Five Leading SABR Experts

Wednesday, September 17, 7:00 p.m.

Five leading experts from the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) will engage in a lively panel discussion of “base ball,” the “national game,” during the 19th century.  The moderator will be Mark Twain House & Museum's Education Manager, Craig Hotchkiss, who is a former vintage “base ball” player and frequent presenter of the museum’s community outreach program: Base Ball as Mark Twain Knew It.

The SABR panelists are John Thorn, David Arcidiacono, Gary O'Maxfield, Joe Williams, and Bill Ryczek.

The program will be followed by a book sale and signing.

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

Finding an Agent: A Writing Workshop with Susan Schoenberger

Saturday, September 20, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Susan Schoenberger, author of the award-winning novel A Watershed Year, reprises her powerful presentation from this spring's Writers Weekend on the ins and outs of finding an agent to represent you -- usually the first step toward getting your book into print.

Schoenberger has been a writer, editor and copy editor at the Raleigh News and Observer, the Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant. She now works as an editor for the news website group Patch.com. Her articles and essays have appeared in many publications, including the Courant's Northeast magazine and Reader's Digest, and one of her essays was included in the anthology Stories for a Woman's Heart. Her short stories have appeared in Inkwell and the Village Rambler and one was a finalist in the New Millennium Writings contest.

Her novel A Watershed Year received the Gold Medal in the 2006 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing competition. She is a recipient of an Artist Fellowship Grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

500 Words or Less: A Flash Fiction Writing Workshop with Alison Devers

Saturday, September 20, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Flash fiction: short and sweet. Learn how to pack a punch in a flash with an award-winning writer.

A.N. Devers' work has appeared in Departures, Electric Literature, Slice, Tin House, The Washington Post and online in Lapham's Quarterly, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Slate, and Salon among other publications. Her essay, "On the Outskirts" received Notable Mention in The Best American Essays 2011. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. She is founder of Writers' Houses, an online publication about the art of literary pilgrimage. She has taught writing workshops at Adelphi University and Sackett Street Writers' Workshop.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

MEOW-ZA! CAT WRITERS COME CLEAN

Saturday, September 20, 7:00 p.m.

When these three ladies get together to talk, the conversation is bound to get catty! Come to the Mark Twain House & Museum for an event full of cattitude.

Allia Zobel Nolan, author of over 200 titles including "Cat Confessions: A Kitty Come Clean Tell-All Book", "101 Reasons Why a Cat Is Better than a Man" and "Women Who Still Love Cats Too Much", Clea Simon, author of 16 cat detective books including the Dulcie Schwartz Feline mystery series ("Grey Dawn"), and Darlene Arden, Certified Animal Behaviorist Consultant and author of dozens of dog and cats books including "The Complete Cat's Meow", and "Beautiful Cats" will purrtake in a panel discussion on writing successful feline novels and how they've created gripping, believable, and entertaining fiction with characters who sleep 20 hours a day.

Don't miss this amewusing evening about writing cat fiction at the home of the man once said, "When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction."

This is a free event followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

CLUE Tours!

Saturday, September 20, Tours step off every 15 minutes beginning at 7 p.m. Reservations required.

Who killed that varmint Pap Finn??? 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.

Book/Mark: DREAM NATION by Maria Acosta Cruz

Tuesday, September 23, 7:00 p.m. at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Over the past fifty years, Puerto Rican voters have roundly rejected any calls for national independence. Yet the rhetoric and iconography of independence have been defining features of Puerto Rican literature and culture.  Mara Acosta Cruz investigates the roots and effects of this profound disconnect between cultural fantasy and political reality.

Presented in collaboration with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

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

THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION: 50 Years of Conspiracy! with Jerome Corsi, Patrick Nolan and Peter Janney

Wednesday, September 24, 7:30 p.m.

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s investigation into the assassination of his predecessor, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Was it the CIA?  The Russians?  LBJ?  Or was it Lee Harvey Oswald acting completely on his own?  Authors Jerome Corsi, Patrick Nolan and Peter Janney will be discussing their conspiracy theory books on one of the most controversial subjects in American history.

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

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Ben Tarnoff on "Mark Twain and the Bohemians"

Wednesday, September 24, 5:00 p.m. reception; 5:30 p.m. talk (note this is not the usual second Wednesday of the month)

Tarnoff's new book The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature, brings to life Twain's early journalistic days in San Francisco and his contemporaries there: golden boy Bret Harte; struggling gay poet Charles Warren Stoddard; and beautiful, haunted Ina Coolbrith, poet and protector of the group.

"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.

BOOK MARK - "Making a Musical: The Circus in Winter" by Cathy Day

Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m.

Wicked. Oliver! Les Miserables. These award-winning and beloved musicals were all novels in their first incarnations. "The Circus in Winter," written by Cathy Day, is another book to get the stage-treatment. Join Day and Ben Clark, lyricist and composer of the upcoming show, for this event that will look into the process of turning text to theater and include a performance of tunes from Clark's adaptation.

This fun event will include performances of tunes from Clark’s adaptation which will be featured at Goodspeed Musicals’  Norma Terris Theatre, October 23 - November 16!

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

The Mark Twain House & Museum presents TAPPING INTO TWAIN!

Friday, September 26, 5:30-9:30 p.m.

The party of the year featuring over twenty regional breweries, micro-breweries and home brewers plus over a dozen local restaurants and music.

Prices include all food, beverage and a collectible pint glass!

Supported in part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council's United Arts Campaign, with the support of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

Advance Price: $45, Door Price: $50, MTH&M Member Price: $40, Designated Driver: $20. Tickets: call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Oct

October


Nook Farm Book Talk: "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" by Gregory Maguire

Wednesday, October 1, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at Twain Museum Center

To tie in with our "Mark My Words 2014: A Wicked Cool Evening" event, we're presenting "Wicked" as the Nook Farm Book Talk for October.

And this is the book that started it all! The basis for the smash hit Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Gregory Maguire's breathtaking New York Times bestseller Wicked views the land of Oz, its inhabitants, its Wizard, and the Emerald City, through a darker and greener (not rosier) lens. Brilliantly inventive, Wicked offers us a radical new evaluation of one of the most feared and hated characters in all of literature: the much maligned Wicked Witch of the West who, as Maguire tells us, wasn't nearly as Wicked as we imagined.

The is a free event, but registration is recommended. Please call 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

Writing Fiction: A Course with Susan Schoenberger

Wednesday, October 1, through November 12, 2014, Wednesdays from 6:00 pm - 8:00 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. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Writing Political Poetry: A Course with Edwina Trentham

Wednesday, October 1, through November 12, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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

Freelance Writing: A Course with Theresa Sullivan Barger

Wednesday, October 1, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, 6 consecutive Wednesdays

This six-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.

$265. To register for this course, email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Travel Writing: A Course with Mary Sharnick

Wednesday, October 1, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, six consecutive Wednesdays.

Writers in this course will shape travel experiences into discrete, coherent posts, each passage evoking a sense of place.  Focusing on specific and apt details, responding to particular sites and events, and reflecting on the emotive and transformative elements of travel, participants will develop a portfolio of texts suitable for sharing in a variety of virtual  and paper venues.  

Mary Donnarumma Sharnick is the author of THIRST (Fireship Press, 2012) and PLAGUED (Fireship Press, 2014), the first novel in The Michael of Rhodes Series.  A recipient of a Solo Writer's Fellowship from The Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation, Mary has had the opportunity to conduct on-site research in Venice, Italy.  With her husband she leads her writing students on "slow travel" excursions to Italy, the country she considers her second home.  Mary's non-fiction writing has appeared in America, Italian Americana, American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, Southern Humanities Review, among other journals. www.marydonnarummasharnick.com

$265. To register email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Book/Mark: "American Crucifixion" by Alex Beam at Hartford Seminary, 77 Sherman Street

Thursday, October 2, 7:00 p.m.

On June 27, 1844, a mob stormed the jail in the dusty frontier town of Carthage, Illinois. Clamorous and angry, they were hunting down a man they saw as a grave threat to their otherwise quiet lives: the founding prophet of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. They wanted blood.

At thirty-nine years old, Smith had already lived an outsized life. In addition to starting his own religion and creating his own “Golden Bible”—the Book of Mormon—he had worked as a water-dowser and treasure hunter. He’d led his people to Ohio, then Missouri, then Illinois, where he founded a city larger than fledgling Chicago. He was running for president. And, secretly, he had married more than thirty women.

In American Crucifixion, Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation—the doctrine of polygamy—created a rift among his people; how that schism turned to violence; and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride.

Mormonism is America’s largest and most enduring native religion, and the “martyrdom” of Joseph Smith is one of its transformational events. Smith’s brutal assassination propelled the Mormons to colonize the American West and claim their place in the mainstream of American history. American Crucifixion is a gripping story of scandal and violence, with deep roots in our national identity.

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

Writing Nonfiction: A Course with Susan Campbell

Thursday, October 2, through November 12, 2014, Thursdays 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.

$265. Buy tickets here or by calling (860) 280-3130.

Writing from Found Texts (Fiction & Creative Nonfiction Writing Class)

Thursday, October 2, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, 4 consecutive Thursdays

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.

To register for this class email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Friday, October 3, 10, 16, 17, 18, 23. 24, 25, and 30 at 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for spooky fall 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.

The Perfect Pitch: A Workshop in Publicity for Writers

Saturday, October 4, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Writing your book was the easy part. Now the REAL work begins.  Selling it!

Even if you’re fortunate enough to have a publisher paying the freight, there will be no one better than you to promote it. In today’s changing publishing landscape, the author goes from writer to salesperson just as soon as the books come back from the printer. It’s expected that you will do much of the heavy lifting (not the boxes, silly. The publicity.) It’s the new normal. And that’s a good thing, because no one wants your book to succeed more than you. With a little direction, you can do a better job than they ever could telling your story.

In the words of instructor Mike Morin:

I will get you up to speed on how to engage radio and TV broadcasters and get them excited about interviewing you and giving you free advertising that you could never afford to buy.

Not only am I an author but I have been a radio and TV host for over 40 years. I’m one of the few people who can work both sides of the process. I am approached to interview guests AND I have asked to be interviewed on my own behalf. I know the secrets of both parts of this equation. It’s not rocket science. But I can share some inside knowledge if you’re willing to be persistent. I am a career broadcaster who’s worked in New York City, Boston and New Hampshire. My book is Fifty Shades of Radio – True Stories of a Morning Radio Guy Being Wired, Tired and Fired. I’m also a humor columnist, magazine writer and have been published in the Boston Globe and Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

$40. To register, email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Social Media for Writers

Tuesday, October 7, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, four consecutive Tuesdays

In this 4-day class, Caitlin will cover individual platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and more. You'll walk away with a better sense of how each social media platform works, and how they all connect to each other. You'll also walk away with the beginnings of a social media strategy, whether it be for your business or organization, or for your personal branding. The class will cover content calendars, and content creation and curation. Come with your questions, and your laptops!

Caitlin Thayer has been using social media since 2003. She has helped various non-profits and businesses in the Hartford community learn how to use social media effectively to build and support their community. Caitlin was recently named a Hartford Business Journal 40 Under 40 winner, and has been featured in Hartford Magazine as "Hartford County's Young Achievers" and in an article about Young Entrepreneurs.

$199. To register, call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Book/Mark: FINDING OZ with Evan I. Schwartz

Wednesday, October 8, 7:00 p.m.

"Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story" by Evan Schwartz is a groundbreaking new look at an American icon, THE WIZARD OF OZ.

"Finding Oz" tells the remarkable tale behind one of the world's most enduring and best loved stories. Offering profound new insights into the true origins and meaning of L. Frank Baum's 1900 masterwork, it delves into the personal turmoil and spiritual transformation that fueled Baum's fantastical parable of the American Dream. Prior to becoming an impresario of children's adventure tales--the J. K. Rowling of his age--Baum failed at a series of careers and nearly lost his soul before setting out on a journey of discovery that would lead to the Land of Oz.

Drawing on original research, Evan Schwartz debunks popular misconceptions and shows how the people, places, and events in Baum's life gave birth to his unforgettable images and characters. The Yellow Brick Road was real, the Emerald City evoked the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, and Baum's mother-in-law, the radical women's rights leader Matilda Joslyn Gage, inspired his dual view of witches--as good and wicked. A narrative that sweeps across late nineteenth-century America, Finding Oz ultimately reveals how failure and heartbreak can sometimes lead to redemption and bliss, and how one individual can ignite the imagination of the entire world.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

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

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Benjamin Griffin on "A Family Sketch"

Wednesday, October 8, 5:00 p.m. reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

Griffin, an editor at The Mark Twain Project and Papers in Berkeley, California, will launch A Family Sketch and Other Private Writings, which includes an important first-hand account of life in the Hartford house by Samuel L. Clemens himself, published for the first time. The book also includes "Small Foolishness," Clemens' account of his children's sayings, and an authoritative edition of his daughter Susy’s biography of her father, written when she was a teenager.

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.

SEANCE 101

Thursday, October 9, 6:30 p.m.

Have you ever wondered if psychic photographs are real? What famous Spiritualist produced faces of spirit on film? How did the Victorian conduct their séances?

Author and medium, Elaine Kuzmeskus answers these questions as she explores the fascinating world of physical mediumship and Victorian Seances. Learn more about rare but real physical phenomena, as well as valuable information on: Seances around Victorian Hartford; Connecticut medium who levitated; How to contact spirit through table tipping; Spirit photographs; Electronic voice phenomena; Plus readings for selected members of the audience

Elaine Kuzmeskus, MS is a nationally recognized Spiritualist medium who is Director of the New England School of Metaphysics in Suffield, CT. She is also the author of three books on mediumship: Connecticut Ghosts, Seance 101, and The Making of a Medium. Her latest book, The Art of Mediumship (Schiffer 2012) is a "how to" on developing mediumship. During her career, Elaine Kuzmeskus has conducted the many notable seances including the Official Houdini Seance and was recently featured on the PBS special" Things That Go Bump in the Night."

Tickets are $15. Please call (860)280-3130 or click here.

THE PRIVATE SEANCE - This event is sold out!

Thursday, October 9, 8:30 p.m.

Private Seance in the Mark Twain House: Limited to 12 participants

Have you ever wondered if spirit communication is real? Is physical phenomena is real? Can spirit actually speak through levitated trumpets or make their presence known though materialization ? .

Learn more about rare but real physical phenomena, as well as receive a private message from spirit.

Everyone participating will get a psychic messaging session PLUS the medium will attempt to make contact with former occupants of the Clemens household.

Elaine Kuzmeskus, MS is a nationally recognized Spiritualist medium who is Director of the New England School of Metaphysics in Suffield, CT. She is also the author of three books on mediumship: Connecticut Ghosts, Seance 101, and The Making of a Medium. Her latest book, The Art of Mediumship (Schiffer 2012) is a "how to" on developing mediumship. During her career, Elaine Kuzmeskus has conducted the many notable seances including the Official Houdini Seance and was recently featured on the PBS special "Things That Go Bump in the Night."

Tickets are $75, and limited to 12 only. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

CASHETTA is THE RARE MEDIUM - WELL DONE

Friday, October 10, 7:00 p.m.

Spiritualism doesn’t have to be a drag, but it will be when drag superstar Cashetta unveils her side-splitting, magical and mysterious show featuring the tricks and trappings of mediums everywhere!  Will she conduct a silly sance?  Will she make spirits materialize and disappear (faster than the spirits in her cocktail glass)?   A thrilling evening of paranormal experiments!

This is our 2014 “Come Out Laughing” event to support True Colors

 

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

Exhibition Opening and Reception for 'SPIRITUALISM, SEANCES & SAM'

Friday, October 10, 5:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum will be opening a new exhibition, "Spiritualism, Seances & Sam." The exhibition will examine the Victorian era's fascination with spiritualism and, in particular, the relevant beliefs and experiences of Samuel Clemens ("Mark Twain").

A free opening reception will be held that evening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

This is a free event.

Dialogue Workshop with Dan Pope

Saturday, October 11, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This workshop will discuss the uses and techniques of dialogue in fiction, including examinations of samples from published work and exerciss to be conducted in class.  It will include a long list of dos and don'ts, which should really make your dialogue sparkle. (Example:  how to avoid small talk!)  Although we will discuss dialogue in fiction, the principles can be equally helpful to writers of memoir and creative non-fiction.

Dan Pope is the author of the novels In the Cherry Tree (Picador, 2003) and Housebreaking (Simon & Schuster, 2015).  His short stories have been published in Crazyhorse, Iowa Review, McSweeney's, Shenandoah, Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, and many other magazines. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where he attended on a Truman Capote Fellowship and was awarded the Glenn Schaeffer Award from the International Institute of Modern Letters.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased here or by calling (860) 280-3130.

Writing an Op-Ed with Hugh Ryan

Saturday, October 11, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The oped section is often one of the easiest places for new writers to break into a publication, because it relies on personal experience and opinion. Newspapers, websites, and magazines often look for oped pieces from non-staffers that relate to the current events of the day, or evergreen pieces pinned to holidays, changing seasons, yearly events, etc.. In this workshop, we'll talk about what makes a good topic for an oped, how to write one, and how to sell one.


Hugh Ryan is a freelance writer and the Founding Director of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History. His opeds have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Slate, The Daily Beast, and many other venues. He is also a young adult writer represented by Meredith Kaffel at DeFiore & Co.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased here or by calling (860) 280-3130.

BOOK/MARK: "Picture the Dead" with Lisa Brown

Tuesday, October 14, 7:00 p.m.

Join Lisa Brown who will discuss her book "Picture the Dead". This book is aimed at the young-adult audience, but adults will find much to like too.

Jennie Lovell's life is the very picture of love and loss. First she is orphaned and forced to live at the mercy of her stingy, indifferent relatives. Then her fiance falls on the battlefield, leaving her heartbroken and alone. Jennie struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, but is haunted by a mysterious figure that refuses to let her bury the past.

When Jennie forms an unlikely alliance with a spirit photographer, she begins to uncover secrets about the man she thought she loved. With her sanity on edge and her life in the balance, can Jennie expose the chilling truth before someone-or something-stops her?

Against the brutal, vivid backdrop of the American Civil War, Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown have created a spellbinding mystery where the living cannot always be trusted and death is not always the end.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

This is a free event, but reservations are suggested. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BELLE Film Screening and Talk-Back at the Wadsworth Atheneum

Thursday, October 16, 6:30 p.m. reception; 7:00 p.m. introduction of film

Belle is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of British Admiral John Lindsay and an enslaved woman. Sent to live with her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield, she is treated "almost" as one of the family, becoming good friends with her cousin Lady Elizabeth, and enduring the initial discontent of Lady Mansfield. Belle, together with an idealistic young vicar's son bent on changing society, help shape Lord Mansfield's role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.


Film to be followed by a moderated discussion.

2013. UK. 104 min. Rated PG
Directed by Amma Asante. Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson.

Presented in collaberation with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the Amistad Foundation, and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

 

Admission: $9; $8 for seniors and students with ID.; $7 for members. Purchase tickets online at TheWadsworth.org or call (860) 838-4100 Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am – 4:30 pm.

A Look at Modern Witchcraft with Miss Faith, Founder of Enchantments Center for the Magickal Arts and Witch Shoppe

Friday, October 17, 7:00 p.m.

We’ve all got a little magic in us! Join us as we welcome Miss Faith for a bewitching evening on the history of witchcraft and its current state in our world today.  You’ll also learn some of the tricks of the trade from a witch who runs her very own school!

$15. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK: A Conversation with Colm Toibin about "Nora Webster"

Saturday, October 18, 7:00 p.m.

From one of contemporary literature’s bestselling, critically acclaimed and beloved authors, comes a magnificent new novel set in Ireland, about a fiercely compelling young widow and mother of four, navigating grief and fear, struggling for hope.

Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Toibin’s superb seventh novel introduces the formidable, memorable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. Wounded, strong-willed, clinging to secrecy in a tiny community where everyone knows your business, Nora is drowning in her own sorrow and blind to the suffering of her young sons, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven-herself.

Nora Webster is a masterpiece in character study by a writer at the zenith of his career, “beautiful and daring” (The New York Times Book Review) and able to “sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations” (USA TODAY). 

Colm Toibin is an Irish novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic and poet. Toibin is currently Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University and succeeded Martin Amis as professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester. He was hailed as a champion of minorities as he collected the 2011 Irish PEN Award. In 2011, he was named one of Britain's Top 300 Intellectuals by The Observer.  He is the author of numerous novels including The South, The Heather Blazing, The Story of the Night, The Master, Brooklyn, The Testament of Mary, and The Blackwater Lightship, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize. He lives in Dublin.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

This is a free event, but reservations are suggested. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Intro to Self-Publishing

Monday, October 20, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, four consecutive Mondays

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.

$199. To register, email Director of Writing Julia Pistell at julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

Mark My Words 2014: A WICKED Cool Evening!

Tuesday, October 21, 8:00 p.m.

A WICKED Cool Evening!

With GREGORY MAGUIRE, author of Wicked – The Novel

And STEPHEN SCHWARTZ, composer and lyricist of Wicked – The Musical

Moderated by  The Hartford Courant’s by Frank Rizzo

The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford

With a story that has become as popular as the original, Wicked has been captivating readers and Broadway fans for almost two decades. Gregory Maguire’s revisionist look into L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, was adapted as a musical by Stephen Schwartz, and as they say, the rest is history. Join us at The Bushnell as we make history by bringing these two wizards of words and music to Connecticut! This is a special opportunity for all Wicked fans, whether you’re green, covered in blue tattoos, or spend your time in a lot of pink.

Sponsored by The Hartford, New Haven Register, Wish You Well Foundation, Hoffman Auto Group, Dattco, Foresite/Progress, Putnam Publishing Group, The Study Hotel, Hachette Book Group.

Additional Support by Nelson DeMille, Bauman Rare Books, Candlewick Press, and R.J. Julia Booksellers.

TICKETS & INFO:  TwainMarkMyWords.com or call (860) 987-5900

Book/Mark: PENGUIN BOOK OF WITCHES with Katherine Howe

Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m.

Katherine Howe will discuss her new brand book "The Penguin Book of Witches", which includes chilling real-life accounts of witches, from medieval Europe through colonial America.

From a manual for witch hunters written by King James himself in 1597, to court documents from the Salem witch trials of 1692, to newspaper coverage of a woman stoned to death on the streets of Philadelphia while the Continental Congress met, "The Penguin Book of Witches" is a treasury of historical accounts of accused witches that sheds light on the reality behind the legends.

Bringing to life stories like that of Eunice Cole, tried for attacking a teenage girl with a rock and buried with a stake through her heart; Jane Jacobs, a Bostonian so often accused of witchcraft that she took her tormentors to court on charges of slander; and Increase Mather, an exorcism-performing minister famed for his knowledge of witches, this volume provides a unique tour through the darkest history of English and North American witchcraft, never failing to horrify, intrigue, and delight.

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

An Evening with Noam Chomsky

Friday, October 24, 7:00 p.m.

Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and activist. Sometimes described as the "father of modern linguistics", Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy. He has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently Professor Emeritus, and has authored over 100 books. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and was voted the "world's top public intellectual" in a 2005 poll.

Tickets are $30/$25 for MTH&M members. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Tom Sawyer's Trick or Treat

Saturday, October 25, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Bring the family for an afternoon of Halloween fun as we host the inaugural Tom Sawyer’s Tricks & Treats. Be amazed by magic tricks! Have a laugh with author Artie Bennett, author of Belches & Burps & Farts, Oh My!, Poopendous and The Butt Book! Enjoy a spooky performance by the Mark Twain Players! Join us for this exciting family event.  Costumes encouraged for trick or treating at Mark Twain’s house, too!

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 16 and under. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Capital Classics performance of DRACULA

Tuesday, October 28, and Wednesday, October 29 at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. each evening.

Get a little batty in the creepy basement of The Mark Twain House with this radio theatre performance of Bram Stoker’s blood-sucking Dracula!  Watch as the performers and a sound effect specialist put on a show made for radio right in front of your eyes (while covering your neck).

Tickets - $20 / $15 for MTH&M Members. 

Call (860) 280-3130 for tickets or click here.

Nov

November


Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours

Saturday, November 1, 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

We reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours for spooky fall 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.

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

BOOK/MARK: "Eugene O'Neill - A Life in 4 Acts" with author Robert Dowling

Tuesday, November 4, 7:00 p.m.

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 Boat, "Celtic 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.

 

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

Nook Farm Book Talk - 'The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial' with Susan Eaton

Wednesday, November 5, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

With our nation's urban schools growing more segregated every year, Susan Eaton set out to see whether separate can ever really be equal. An award-winning journalist, Eaton spent four years at Simpson-Waverly Elementary School, an all-minority school in Hartford, Connecticut. Located in the poorest city in the wealthiest state in the nation, it is a glaring example of the great racial and economic divide found in almost every major urban center across the country.

The Children in Room E4 is the compelling story of one student, one classroom, and one indomitable teacher, Ms. Luddy. In the midst of Band-Aid reforms and hotshot superintendents with empty promises, drug dealers and street gangs, Ms. Luddy's star student, Jeremy, and his fellow classmates face tremendous challenges both inside and outside of a school cut off from mainstream America.

Meanwhile, across town, a team of civil rights lawyers fight an intrepid battle to end the de facto segregation that beleaguers Jeremy's school and hundreds of others across America.

From inside the classroom and the courtroom, Eaton reveals the unsettling truths about an education system that leaves millions of children behind and gives voice to those who strive against overwhelming odds for a better future.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

An Evening with ANNE RICE & CHRISTOPHER RICE

Wednesday, November 5, 7:00 p.m. at the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford.

A hair-raising visit with gothic novelist Anne Rice and her son Christopher Rice, a New York Times-bestselling author in his own right. We celebrate Anne's return to the scene of her greatest success, Interview with a Vampire, with her new novel Prince Lestat. Christopher will also tell us about his new paranormal thriller, The Vines, set in the familiar gothic playground of their family's hometown, New Orleans. Of course, we hope to learn more than a little about their shared bond as writers and family.

Series sponsored by The Hartford.

 

Tickets:  $35 / $30 for MTH&M Members and Hartford Stage subscribers. 
To order, call (860) 527-5151 or visit HartfordStage.org. A $1.50 facility fee and a $5.00 handling fee wil be added.

BOOK/MARK: Leading Twain Scholar Kent Rasmussen on new editions for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

Thursday, November 6, 7:00 p.m.

Never having been out of print, one would think that new editions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, would not be much of a reason to celebrate However, when R. Kent Rasmussen, Twain scholar extraordinaire, pens insightful new introductions to these two classics, we sit up and take notice!  Join for an evening exploring the best of American literature.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

 

FREE Book/Mark Event. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing or click here.

BECK & CALL The Servants Tour (Directed by HartBeat Ensemble's Steven Raider-Ginsburg)

Friday, November 7, Tours begin at 7:00 p.m.

Help! The servants at Mark Twain's House are expecting a full-on assault of overnight guests. With famous faces coming for an elegant dinner, three guest rooms to prepare and 25 rooms worth of dusting, the hired help may need a helping hand. With BECK & CALL, our fun, new interactive nighttime servants tour of The Mark Twain House, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Clemens home ship-shape for overnight entertaining. You may even be asked to pitch in! With costumed interpreters appearing throughout the house, fans of "Upstairs/Downtairs" and "Downton Abbey" will love this look at the organized chaos that it took to cook, clean and care for the Clemens Family.

Special Added Attraction: Be among the first to see the 3rd floor Artists Friends Guest Room, reopened for the first time in two decades!

BECK & CALL The Servants Tour - The first Friday of every month, April through September (except for July, which will be on the second Friday of that month)

Beck & Call is supported by the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor.

$22 for adults with discounts for children and members. Reservations required. For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Mark Twain House & Museum 2014 Gala!

Saturday, November 8, 6:00 PM - 11:00 PM

The Hartford Club, 46 Prospect St., Hartford

Step right up and join us for The Mark Twain House & Museum Gala 2014 "“ "The Greatest Gala on Earth"An Evening of Sideshows, Spirits, and Sam."

The evening will showcase one of the most sensational and extravagant forms of entertainment in the late 19th century: the Circus! Mark Twain often wrote of his intrigue with the Big Top and skepticism of the "greatest show on earth," especially the sideshows complete with mystics, palm readers, and soothsayers. The circus flourished during the age of Spiritualism, a movement that Sam found just as dubious.

Your admission to the three-ring extravaganza includes spirits and elixirs, a fabulous banquet, unique silent auction luxuries for sale, and spectacular entertainment with never-before-seen marvels in the center.

Sponsors as of 7/30:

BlumShapiro

Deloitte & Touche LLP

Dornenburg / Kallenbach Advertising

Fairview Capital Partners, Inc.

The Hartford

Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company

MassMutual Financial Group

Purdue Pharma L.P.

Robinson & Cole LLP

Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center

Shipman & Goodwin LLP

The Travelers Companies, Inc.

Voya Financial™, inspired by ING

Tickets are $225 for purchases before October 17; $250 after that date.

For more information, please contact Sarah Hawkes at sarah.hawkes@marktwainhouse.org, 860.280.3112

Songwriting with Donna Martin: A Saturday Afternoon Writing Workshop

Saturday, November 8, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Although there are many components to songwriting, the focus of this class will be on lyric writing. We will cover meter and form, rhyme schemes, strong starts and development techniques. Skills of clarity, the use of imagery and metaphor will also be included. It will be helpful if students come prepared with several ideas about what they'd like to write about. There will be time to create a lyric and then share it in a caring workshop setting to explore how the work can be further developed. Students will need to bring their own writing materials.

Donna Martin is a performing songwriter who has been touring the Northeast for over two decades and has recorded six cds of original music. She has appeared on stage with many luminaries including Bonnie Raitt, Sarah McLachlan and Charlie Daniels. She receives radio airplay from coast to coast and abroad and her work recently earned her a three month artist residency with the Helen Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. She has also served on the faculty at the Greater Hartford Academy of The Arts for the last fourteen years where she taught songwriting.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Book Launch - "Finding Dad: From "Love Child" to Daughter" by Kara Sundlun

Tuesday, November 11, 7:00 p.m.

Kara Hewes had never seen her father, Rhode Island Governor Bruce Sundlun, until one transformational moment when she awoke in the middle of the night as a TV news anchor announced his candidacy. One look at his picture and she knew she needed to find him.

Her letters and phone calls went unanswered, so at seventeen, Kara hired a lawyer and announced her paternity suit before a packed press conference. In the middle of the media frenzy, Governor Sundlun did the unexpected and invited Kara to come live with him so he could get to know her better.

Kara knew that in order to move forward with her father, she had to make the choice to forgive the past. It was her unconditional love that broke down the barriers separating father and daughter.

Kara Sundlun is an Emmy Award–winning television journalist. She anchors the news for WFSB-TV, the CBS affiliate in Connecticut, and hosts two shows—the popular daytime talk show Better Connecticut and Kara's Cures, a guide to health and spirituality. Kara is also a contributor for theHuffington Post. She was named "Best Reporter" by Hartford Magazine and "Top 40 under 40" fromHartford Business Journal and Connecticut Magazine. She and her husband, fellow news anchor Dennis House, live in Hartford, Connecticut, with their two children.

This is a free event followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30: David E. E. Sloane, "Reflections on Mark Twain and Thomas Edison as American Cultural Icons"

Wednesday, November 12, 5:00 p.m. reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

David Edward Edison Sloane, professor of English at the University of New Haven, is a Connecticut treasure: an internationally recognized Mark Twain scholar who was recently named the first Legacy Scholar by The Mark Twain Journal. He is author of Mark Twain as Literary Comedian, Huckleberry Finn: American Comic Vision and other works -- and is the great-grandson of Thomas A. Edison. 

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.

Book/Mark: "Tinseltown" with William Mann

Thursday, November 13, 7:00 p.m.

William Mann is the author of "Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood ". He's previously written Hollywood biographies including Barbara Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor and Katherine Hepburn.

"The Day of the Locust" meets "The Devil in the White City" and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" in this juicy, untold Hollywood story: an addictive true tale of ambition, scandal, intrigue, murder, and the creation of the modern film industry.

By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America's new favorite pastime, and one of the nation's largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence. Yet Hollywood's glittering ascendency was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies"”including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now.

In a fiendishly involving narrative, bestselling Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of the enigmatic Taylor and the diverse cast that surrounded him"”including three beautiful, ambitious actresses; a grasping stage mother; a devoted valet; and a gang of two-bit thugs, any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet. And overseeing this entire landscape of intrigue was Adolph Zukor, the brilliant and ruthless founder of Paramount, locked in a struggle for control of the industry and desperate to conceal the truth about the crime. Along the way, Mann brings to life Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties: a sparkling yet schizophrenic town filled with party girls, drug dealers, religious zealots, newly-minted legends and starlets already past their prime"”a dangerous place where the powerful could still run afoul of the desperate.

A true story recreated with the suspense of a novel, Tinseltown is the work of a storyteller at the peak of his powers"”and the solution to a crime that has stumped detectives and historians for nearly a century.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

This is a free event, but reservations are suggested. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

The MOuTH with Chion Wolf: "I Quit!"

Friday, November 14, 7:30 p.m.

The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf -- and invites stories about quitting your job.

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 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.

THE CONNECTICUT POETRY FESTIVAL sponsored by Riverwood Poetry Series

Saturday, November 15, Workshops from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. High Performance Poetry from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The Riverwood Poetry Series, Inc. is a non-profit arts organization committed to the promotion and appreciation of entertaining and thought-provoking poetry in Connecticut.   Our monthly spoken word series takes place at the historic Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford from September through May.  In June, Riverwood sponsors a social justice reading in conjunction with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.  The Connecticut Poetry Festival is held biennially.

11/15/2014, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. “Write Away,” an afternoon of four 50 minute poetry-writing workshops led by Yvon Cormier, Donna Marie Merritt, Lisa C. Taylor, and Elizabeth Thomas.

11/15/2014, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. “High-Performance Poetry,” featuring the electrifying Patricia Smith and Connecticut’s own Elizabeth Thomas.  Suggested donation $10.

For more information go to http://riverwoodpoetry.org/ct-poetry-festival/

An Evening with Nell Bernstein - BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE

Thursday, November 20, 6:30 p.m.; light supper reception at 5:30 p.m.

One in three American schoolchildren will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three and many will spend time locked inside horrific detention centers that fly in the face of everything we know about how to rehabilitate young offenders. In a clear-eyed indictment of the juvenile justice system run amok, award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child. 

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.

Dec

December


Nook Farm Book Talk: I AM SOPHIE TUCKER A FICTIONAL MEMOIR by Susan & Lloyd Ecker

Wednesday, December 3, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at the Mark Twain House Museum Center

Part fairy tale, part crime novel, part rags to riches Hollywood myth, I Am Sophie Tucker tells the outrageous story of one of showbiz’s biggest personalities.

From 1906 through the beginning of television, Sophie Tucker and her bawdy, brash, and risqu songs paved the way for performers such as West, Monroe, Midler, Cher, Madonna, and Gaga.

“Sophie was like the Forrest Gump of the first half of the 1900s,” says co-author Susan Ecker. “She was close friends with seven presidents, King George VI, young Queen Elizabeth, Chaplin, J. Edgar, Capone, Garland, Jerry Lewis, Sinatra and every other notable of her era.”

Tucker tried to get her story published for nine years, without success. Undaunted, Sophie hired half a dozen ghostwriters, but she still had no takers for her no holds barred autobiography. Eventually, Doubleday published a sanitized version in 1945.

“After immersing ourselves in Sophie’s papers and surviving friends,” says co-author Lloyd Ecker, “this initial volume is what should have been the actual autobiography of Tucker.”

Though she obsessively documented her life, Sophie loved to exaggerate for dramatic effect. Over the years, she told multiple versions of each important event. At the end, not even Sophie knew the difference between truth and tall tale. 

“This volume is 85% fact,” Lloyd explains. “The other 15% …who knows?” 

The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-280-3130.

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.

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 "Poe Down Below" program last month, you'll love this!

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

The cast and crew include: Betsey Maguire, Chris Berrien, Susan Saks, Patrick Spadaccino, Bob Muscatel, Jomarie Pipolo, Marty Moran, Ann Baldwin, Mark Englehart, John Swanson, Ian Galligan--Foley Artist, Kathryn Lewis--Stage Manager

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

Saturday, December 7 TWO SHOWS! 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. At The Mark Twain Museum Center

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

Editing Boot Camp with Steve Courtney: A Writing Workshop

Saturday, December 6, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Learn to edit your work with a critical eye and a bold hand with CT Book-Award winning author Steve Courtney.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

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.

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.

Tickets: $30 in advance. Call (860) 280-3130. 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.

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.

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.

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