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4th Annual Writers' Weekend!

Friday, April 17, through Sunday, April 19

The 4th Annual Writers' Weekend at The Mark Twain House & Museum will run fromApril 17 to 19. The weekend costs $170, and will include lectures, workshops, panels, readings, receptions, and book signings featuring exemplary writers from all over the United States.  (Single day tickets are also available.)

The 2015 Keynote Speaker is Dani Shapiro, author of the bestselling memoirs Devotion andSlow Motion, as well as five novels, and the recent Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life,  a look at the exhilarating and challenging process of writing. The event will also include a conversation featuring the very popular podcast Books on the Nightstand.  Plus there will be a Playwriting Panel featuring noted film director, screenwriter and playwright Neil LaBute.

Events will begin with the Books on the Nightstand podcast conversation at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, and programs will continue on Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m with the Dani Shapiro keynote address that evening, and on Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

Participants may register for the entire weekend, single days, or single keynote events (Dani Shapiro, Books on the Nightstand, and Playwriting Panel). Prices range from $25 for the panel to $170 for the weekend. 

The Playwrighting Panel will take place on Saturday at 4pm.

The complete schedule, which will be updated with more details as they are available and is subject to change, can be found here. See below for the link for reservations.

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

Writing in Mark Twain's Library

Monday, April 27, 6:00 p.m.

"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 writing session in the Clemens family home: participants 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.

This is NOT a writing course-- by popular demand, this program is uninterrupted writing time in the Twain House. A mini-residency of sorts.

ALL FUNDS FROM THIS PROGRAM go toward preserving and restoring the house.

Tickets for three quiet hours in Mark Twain's Library are $50. Please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.

BOOK/MARK: "Redeployment" with author Phil Klay

Tuesday, April 21, 7:00

Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction

National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree

New York Times Bestseller

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

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

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

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

The Adventures of Mark Twain: The Author as Social Critic - Panel Discussion Presented in Collaboration with the University of Connecticut

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

The Mark Twain House & Museum, in collaboration with the University of Connecticut,presents The Adventures of Mark Twain: The Author as Social Critic.

What did Mark Twain think of the Philippine-American war? How can his novel, The Gilded Age, help us understand modern political economy? And how did his 20-cigar-a-day habit help him to satirize moralists? 

Join UConn President Susan Herbst and a panel of distinguished UConn scholars of literature and history as they discuss Twain's legacy, placing his novels and penchant for satire into perspective with today's most pressing issues. 

The panel will discuss Twain's anti-imperialist ideas and how they can help us understand U.S. foreign policy; the evolution of the Washington, D.C. genre of American fiction; images of children and slavery in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; and how Twain used his own shortcomings to satirize himself and others.

Panelists include UConn professors of English Anna Mae Duane and Christopher Vials, professor of history Micki McElya, and professor of history and Connecticut state historian Walter Woodward.

The event will take place on April 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the Webster Bank Museum Center at The Mark Twain House & MuseumIt will be followed by a dessert and coffee reception. 

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

New Exhibition on Display: Travel Is Fatal To Prejudice

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

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

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

This exhibit is sponsored by:

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company

United Technologies Corporation

Department of Economic and Community Development

Greater Hartford Arts Council

For more information, please click here.

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