What’s New

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!

Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing.

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.

BOOK/MARK is a FREE series of authors in informal conversation. Followed by book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested. Call (860) 280-3130.


Due to overwhelming demand from the members of The Mark Twain House & Museum, the Garrison Keillor event has now sold out.

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.

Writers' Weekend Schedule Released

The 3rd Annual Writers’ Weekend: Official Schedule

Questions? Email Director of Writing Programs Julia Pistell at Julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org.

This schedule is subject to change. The best way to make sure you see everything is to register for the whole weekend!

Friday, April 25th

6:00 pm: Welcome Reception

7:00 pm: Keynote Conversation with Meg Wolitzer

Meg Wolitzer's novels include The Interestings; The Uncoupling; The Ten-Year Nap; The Position; and The Wife. She is also the author of a novel for young readers, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman. Wolitzer's short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and has won a Pushcart Prize. Woltizer has been reviewed with raves in the The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the Atlantic, People, and many more prestigious publications. She is a New York Times bestselling author. She will speak on the subject of her writing life and her works.

8:00 pm: Book Signing with Meg Woltizer

Saturday, April 26th

ALL DAY: Buy the books of your favorite authors and get them signed after each session

10:00 am: Workshops

Tim Parrish: In Tension: Conflict in Fiction and Memoir

Conflict/tension/friction--whatever you want to call it--is the engine of good, dramatic, imaginative writing. Conflict can be writ large or writ small in a single word. We'll talk about the nature and role of conflict, complication, and resolution by first looking at examples of conflict at the start of some published memoirs, novels, and short stories. Then we'll identify and discuss what the conflicts are and how they're created through event, prose style, and characterization. Don't expect much lecturing. We'll be talking.

Susan Campbell: Ferreting Out the Facts

Non-fiction writing doesn't have to be boring. In fact, it shouldn't be, so long as you subscribe to the notion that truth is stranger (and richer) than fiction. In this workshop we’ll discuss how to research and present reality.

Susan Schoenberger: Finding an Agent

What does an agent do for you? Do you even want one in today's ever-changing publishing world? If you decide that you do, how do you go about finding one? We'll explore these issues and leave plenty of time for individual questions about the often mysterious and reliably complicated process of finding an agent.

11:00 am: Workshops

Bessy Reyna: Poetry as Memoir

According to poet Mark Doty, "The great power of Poetry is the preservative. The ability to take a moment in time and attempt to hold it." In this workshop divided into 3 short segments, we will examine poems from Richard Blanco, Marilyn Nelson and others, which illustrate how poetry can provide the perfect gateway to our memories to transform them into beautifully constructed short and intense narratives.

Mary Sharnick: Making A Scene: Jump Start Your Novel

Novels are written one scene at a time, each scene linking to the next and echoing the former. In this hands-on class, participants will draft one scene, conflating a particular context, a specific protagonist, and a singular action. Doing so will both advance plot and develop character. Materials will be provided by the instructor.

Wayne English: Writing for the Web

Writing for the web is not like writing for print. On the web brevity is paramount. Here you will learn how to write clearly and succinctly. From the gritty to the sublime, this program ranges from sentence and paragraph length to the nuances of effective communication. The immense power of the published written word is in your hands. Here you learn how to wield it.

Patrice Fitzgerald: Self-Publishing: The Reality of Doing It Yourself

Join us for a workshop on self-publishing. We will explore the indie musts: a good book, an appealing cover, whistle-clean editing, and professional-level formatting. We will also talk about up-front costs, marketing, and the pros and cons of traditional versus independent publishing. "Hybrid" and assisted self-publishing will also be discussed. You'll come away from this session with a clear-eyed view of the possibilities for going it on your own rather than waiting… and waiting... for the perfect query letter to appeal to just the right agent.

12:00 pm: Critics’ Panel

Three world-class literary and cultural critics will discuss their work as critics, the importance of literary critics today, and our current literary landscape. With John Freeman (former editor of Granta), Carole Goldberg (former Books Editor of the Hartford Courant), and David Bromwich (a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences).

1:00 pm: Lunch break! Lunch will be provided.

2:00 pm: Workshops

TJ Jarrett: Poetry

TJ Jarrett’s recent work has been published or is forthcoming in African American Review, Boston Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Boxcar Poetry Review, Callaloo, DIAGRAM, Ninth Letter, Linebreak, Rattle, Southern Poetry Anthology, Third Coast, West Branch and others. Workshop description TBD.

John Casey: What’s Funny

This workshop isn't primarily a how-to workshop but an exploration, with some concentration on written humor--how the requirements are different from those of spoken or acted-out humor.

Mike Morin: Pitching for Publicity

You've written the next Fifty Shades of Grey. Now what? Nobody knows who you are and your publisher is counting on you to create some buzz. As a radio host for over four decades, Mike shares what to say and to whom to get that much-coveted free interview time that will get the public excited about your book. He's also an author, so he knows how to work both sides of this process. He'll show you how to reach tens of thousands of listeners in three hours with radio tours. Buzz words to get a host or producer interested in you as a guest. You'll learn to be an engaging guest. Those who are game can try these ideas out in short mock interviews. He'll cover public speaking and even tell you about celebrities who were trainwreck interviews. Writing the book was easy. Getting publicity is the real work! Even if you don't have a book, you're probably an expert in something as a writer and the better you are at telling the world, the larger audience you'll have.

3:00 pm: Workshops

Vivian Shipley: Revising for Publication

Vivian Shipley has published five chapbooks and nine books of poetry, most recently, All of Your Messages Have Been Erased (Southeastern Louisiana University Press, 2010). She is a two-time recipient of the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, and two of her books—Gleanings: Old Poems, New Poems and When There Is No Shore—were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Additional honors include the Library of Congress’s Connecticut Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to the Literary Community, the Connecticut Book Award for Poetry, the Lucille Medwick Prize from the Poetry Society of America, the Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Prize, the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize from the University of Southern California, the Marble Faun Poetry Prize from the William Faulkner Society, the Daniel Varoujan Prize from the New England Poetry Club, the Hart Crane Prize from Kent State, the Connecticut Press Club Prize for Best Creative Writing, and the Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. Workshop description TBD.

Patricia Chaffee: Freelancing for Local Markets

Designed with the emerging writer in mind, (and those seasoned folks who need a jump start) this one- hour workshop will give writers the know-how to get that coveted first byline and those much needed published clips. Learn about generating compelling

Launched: An Expanded Writing Program!

The Mark Twain House is thrilled to announce an expanded set of programming for writers of all ages and experiences. Upcoming events include:

- Monthly writing workshops, beginning on March 22nd with "Playwriting with Sarah Moon"

- In-depth, challenging 6- week classes on Fiction, Memoir and Storytelling (with Nancy Antle, Mary Ann Tirone-Smith, and Tom Lee), beginning March 19th

- A unique opportunity to have several uninterrupted hours to write in Twain's Library-- a never-before-offered opportunity, on March 23rd

- The 3rd Annual Writers' Weekend, featuring Keynote Speaker Meg Wolitzer, from April 25th - 27th

- A writing contest to be announced soon!

For more information please peruse our Event Page-- or, write to julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org. Julia will answer any questions you may have about any of our programming.

Become a Member

Check out our new $35 Twainiac membership category.

Download Brochure

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