What's New


Wednesday, September 9, 7:30 p.m.

As one of the fantasy genre's most successful authors, R.A. Salvatore enjoys an ever-expanding and tremendously loyal following.

His books regularly appear on best-seller lists and have sold more than 10,000,000 copies. His books have been translated into numerous foreign languages including German, Italian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Turkish, Croatian, Bulgarian, Yiddish, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Czech, and French.

He is the author of more than forty novels and more than a dozen New York Times best sellers, including The Two Swords.

Salvatore's first published novel, The Crystal Shard from TSR in 1988, became the first volume of the acclaimed Icewind Dale Trilogy and introduced an enormously popular character, the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden. Since that time, Salvatore has published numerous novels for each of his signature multi-volume series including The Dark Elf Trilogy, Paths of Darkness, The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, and The Cleric Quintet.

His love affair with fantasy, and with literature in general, began during his sophomore year of college when he was given a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings as a Christmas gift. He promptly changed his major from computer science to journalism. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Fitchburg State College in 1981, then returned for the degree he always cherished, the Bachelor of Arts in English. He began writing seriously in 1982, penning the manuscript that would become Echoes of the Fourth Magic. Salvatore held many jobs during those first years as a writer, finally settling in (much to our delight) to write full time in 1990.

The R.A. Salvatore Collection has been established at his alma mater, Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, containing the writer's letters, manuscripts, and other professional papers. He is in good company, as The Salvatore Collection is situated alongside The Robert Cormier Library, which celebrates the writing career of the co-alum and esteemed author of young adult books.

Salvatore is an active member of his community and is on the board of trustees at the local library in Leominster, Massachusetts. He has participated in several American Library Association regional conferences, giving talks on themes including "Adventure fantasy" and "Why young adults read fantasy." Salvatore himself enjoys a broad range of literary writers including James Joyce, Mark Twain, Geoffrey Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante, and Sartre. He counts among his favorite genre literary influences Ian Fleming, Arthur Conan Doyle, Fritz Leiber, and of course, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Born in 1959, Salvatore is a native of Massachusetts and resides there with his wife Diane, and their three children, Bryan, Geno, and Caitlin. The family pets include three Japanese Chins, Oliver, Artemis and Ivan, and four cats including Guenhwyvar.

When he isn't writing, Salvatore chases after his three Japanese Chins, takes long walks, hits the gym, and coaches/plays on a fun-league softball team that includes most of his family. His gaming group still meets on Sundays to play.

This event is generously supported by The Hartford.

Tickets are $25, and $20 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum. There will be a VIP reception with the author at 6:00 p.m. for $65. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

Note about Online House Tour Tickets

We're sorry, but due to a technical problem, we are currently unable to sell tickets online for tours of The Mark Twain House. We hope to have the issue resolved soon. In the meantime, we will of course continue to sell tickets at our ticket desk on a first-come, first-served basis.


Wednesday, September 2, is the starting date; at 2:00 p.m.

Capital Community College (CCC) is partnering with The Mark Twain House & Museum andHarriet Beecher Stowe Center this fall to offer English 220 Studies in American Literature: Twain and Stowe. The three-credit hybrid course, a combination of in-person and online classes, will meet every other Wednesday from 2:00-4:42 p.m, alternating weekly between classrooms at the Stowe and Twain houses, and online. 

The first class will be held on September 2 at the Stowe Center.

Students will read and discuss works by two of American literature's most influential authors, and will have access to materials unique to these neighboring National Historic Landmarks. Capital's Humanities Chair, Dr. Jeffrey Partridge, will teach the class, and students will also learn from staff experts at the Stowe and Twain museums, who will provide them with a behind-the-scenes look at the houses, archives and exhibits.

Partridge, who also directs the Hartford Heritage Project, a National Endowment for the Humanities supported initiative to infuse CCC course curricula with local resources, calls this "an extraordinary opportunity" to teach Stowe and Twain on site at these museums, and being able to utilize the resources of these great institutions.

For example, students will get a walking tour of Nook Farm, specialized lecture-tours of the houses, interactive discussions on exhibits and archive material, and the opportunity to explore the collections for research projects.

This is the first time either of the institutions have held a course with an area college.

"We're delighted to join with Capital and The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center to offer this innovative new course," said Dr. James Golden, The Mark Twain House and Museum's Director of Education. "This partnership is an example not only of the robust cultural resources in Hartford, but how the history of one of America's oldest cities continues to inspire new learning."

"We are pleased to partner with Capital Community College and Mark Twain House & Museum to share the stories of literary legends and next door neighbors Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain, revolutionaries who changed literature and who continue to shape the nation's view of itself," said Katherine Kane, Stowe Center Executive Director.

Partridge doesn't intend to take up precious time with long lectures. "My role is to orchestrate student interaction with the resources and staff experts on site and to facilitate Socratic discussion. The online portion of the course will allow us to go deep in the literature through discussion forums and blogs," he said.

Asked about the significance of the course, Partridge states, "We always say the Hartford Heritage Project makes Hartford an extension of the CCC campus. This course takes that concept to the extreme. Hartford is our campus, literally."

To register, or to get more information, please visit www.capitalcc.edu.

THE TROUBLE BEGINS AT 5:30 -- "Welcome to the Jungle: Horticulture and Hi-jinks in the Clemens Conservatory” with former Mark Twain House curator Patricia Philippon

Wednesday, September 9, 5:00 p.m. reception; 5:30 p.m. talk

"Welcome to the Jungle: Horticulture and Hi-Junks in the Clemens Conservatory,"a feast of ficus and cereus with rising local museum talent Patti Philippon. Patti will be telling some stories we know and many we don't about this important place, about Clemens' interest and role there, and about the grounds, greenhouse and plantings. One or more of the valiant Master Gardeners who have been carefully restoring and maintaining  the Conservatory over the years may be in attendance to expand on the recent doings there.

Philippon is the Executive Director of the American Clock & Watch Museum in Bristol, Connecticut and was the chief curator of The Mark Twain House & Museum from 2007 to 2014.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30 is supported by a generous grant from the George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. and Alan S. Parker, Trustees.

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

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

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

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

Special guest will be John Farrell (a.k.a. Fast Jack).  He's the author of Fast Jack: The Last Hustler, and a resident of Manchester, CT. 
The last of the old-time dice and card “mechanics” recounts his colorful adventures in and outside the mob running crooked dice and card games all over the country and world. For a generation he was the premier dice “mechanic” in the business, a whiz at setting up marks and turning casino nights, clambakes and social gatherings into a piggy bank for himself and his partners. Fast Jack grew out of the era before mega-casinos and easy credit, where cash was still king and gambling took place in basements, kitchens and storerooms. After learning the game at the tender age of twenty-two, Fast Jack wrote plenty of the rules and rewrote the rest of them, becoming a household name amid the circles in which he traveled. His true-life story reads like a who’s who of the mob’s last hurrah, as he walks the fine line between dollars and sense in the final days before federal indictments became as plentiful as playing cards. From rigging and switching dice to magnetized Craps tables, from running a foolproof horse betting scam to rigging a cold deck, from the Super Bowl to the Kentucky Derby and New York to West Germany, Fast Jack left a trail of marks in his wake that shared the dubious distinction of being played by the very best. A hustler extraordinaire who understood the mindset and sensibility it takes to tilt the odds squarely in his favor while always living to roll another day. In the world of Fast Jack Farrell, the last hustler, you’re only as good your last roll of the dice, and he was the best ever.

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

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

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

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

Chion Wolf, technical producer, announcer, and photographer for WNPR, can be heard on theColin McEnroe Show Monday through Friday at 1 and 8pm, and during breaks throughout the week!

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

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