New Course Highlights Famed Connecticut Authors In American Literature

Special To The Courant
R.J. Julia in Madison hosts writing coach Alan Gelb Tuesday, Aug. 4.

For the first time, Capital Community College, the Mark Twain House & Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center will jointly offer a course titled "English 220 Studies in American Literature: Twain and Stowe."

The three-credit course, a combination of in-person and online classes, will meet every other Wednesday from 2 to 4:42 p.m., alternating between classrooms at the Stowe and Twain houses and online. The first class will be Sept. 2 at the Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford. The Twain House & Center is at 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford.

Students will read and discuss works by the two influential American authors, who lived near each other in the Nook Farm area in the late 1800s in homes that are now National Historic Landmarks. Capital's Humanities Chair, Jeffrey Partridge, will teach the class, and staff experts at the Stowe and Twain museums will offer behind-the-scenes looks at the houses, archives and exhibits. Partridge also directs the Hartford Heritage Project. The online course will let students explore Twain and Stowe's works via discussion forums and blogs.

Students will take part in a walking tour of Nook Farm and lecture-tours of the houses, as well as interactive discussions of exhibits and archive material.

The cost for non-credit students is $375 and other fees apply for new or continuing students or non-degree students. Registration and information: www.capitalcc.edu.

More Twain House Events

>>A free Book/Mark talk about the greatest theft of fine art in history will take place Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Mark Twain House & Museum Center, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford.

Author Stephen Kurkjian will discuss his book, "Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World's Greatest Art Heist" (Public Affairs, $25.99). It tells the true story of the 1990 theft of art by such masters as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Degas, estimated to be worth $500 million, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Organized crime is thought to be involved, but after 25 years, the case remains unsolved.

Kurkjian, an investigative reporter, has been working this case for nearly 20 years. His book offers his ideas about the thieves, their motive and details the FBI has not revealed.

Courant investigative reporter Edmund Mahony will moderate the talk.

Reservations: 860-280-3130.

>>Two writing workshops will begin Monday, Aug. 3, at the Twain House & Museum and will run through Thursday, Aug. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. The cost for each workshop is $180.

"Playwriting Monologues," led by playwright and editor Sarah Moon, will focus on creating powerful, character-revealing monologues as standalone pieces or as part of plays, using comic or dramatic pieces from the classic to the contemporary. Guest actors will perform the finished monologues.

"Beginning Middle End," led by Melanie Faranello, will show how to write short stories using plot, structure, point of view, characterization, and dialogue. Faranello's fiction has won awards and has been widely published in literary journals.

Registration: 860-280-3130.

Asian Poetry Workshop

In advance of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival's program "Outspoken: A Celebration of Asian Poetry" on Aug. 9, two workshops will be presented in the Carriage Barn at the Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Road, Farmington.

Poet Tina Chang will lead a recitation and discussion workshop from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Li-Young Lee will lead a writing workshop from 3 to 5 p.m. Workshop costs are $60 for adults and $45 for college students.

Information: http://sunkengardenpoetry.org/calendar-2015/ or 860-677-4787.

Connecticut Authors Trail

The 2015 Connecticut Authors Trail, presented by a group of libraries in Eastern Connecticut, offers free talks by authors who live in the state or write about it. At each event, guests can acquire "passports" that are guides to the series and offer a chance to win a themed basket. The trail will conclude at The Mohegan Sun Cabaret Theatre on Sept. 10, at 6:15 p.m., with a talk by baker, cookbook author and culinary arts expert Robert Landolphi.

>> Author, life coach and feng shui teacher Lurrae Lupone will discuss her book, "Designing A Happier Life" (Lurrae LLC, $21.88) on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Public Library of New London, 63 Huntington St., New London.

>> Author Fredericka Close will discuss her inspirational book, "Divine Grace: The Power That Illuminates Your Soul" (HIS Publishing Group, $18.95), on Wednesday, Aug. 5 ,at 6:30 p.m. at Tolland Public Library, 21 Tolland Green, Tolland. Close is a former nurse and longtime student of spirituality as found in many religious practices.

>> Author Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel will talk about her novel, "Wabanaki Blues" (Poisoned Pencil, $10.95), on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 6:30 p.m. at Voluntown Public Library, 107 Main St., Voluntown. The book is the first of her planned Wabanaki Trilogy about a teenage girl of Native American heritage who is searching for her identity, as well as the solution to a disappearance of another teenager 18 years earlier. Tantaquidgeon Zobel is Medicine Woman for the Mohegans in Connecticut. She writes fiction and non-fiction about Native Americans in New England.

Information: connecticutauthorstrail.org.

Avon Local Author Festival

The free Avon Free Public Library Local Author Festival will run through Monday, Aug. 24, at the library, 281 Country Club Road, Avon. It will continue with book signings and sales at its Farmers Market from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 3. Patrick Nolan, author of "CIA Rogues and the killing of the Kennedys: How and why US Agents Conspired to Assassinate JFK and RFK" (Skyhorse, $24.95), and Linda Campanella, author of "When All That's Left of Me Is Love" (Tate, $17.99), will sign copies.

In addition, the library is offering a free Story Walk through August on its grounds based on the children's book, "Market Maze" by Roxie Munro, a story about collecting things to take to a farmer's market. Visitors can solve the maze and find objects hidden in pictures.

Information: 860-673-9712, ext. 235.

Authors At R.J. Julia

Authors will give free talks at R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison. All events begin at 7 p.m. and reservations are required: 203-245-3959 or www.rjjulia.com.

>>Historian Thomas Fleming will discuss "The Great Divide: The Conflict Between Washington and Jefferson That Defined a Nation" (Da Capo Press, $27.99), on Monday, Aug. 3. The book explores how and why the deep disagreements between the former friends and founders of the United States came about and continue to influence American history. Fleming is the author of more than 50 books, a guest commentator on PBS, C-SPAN and the History Channel and a contributor to American Heritage, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and other magazines.

>>Writing coach Alan Gelb will give a talk about "Having the Last Say: Capturing Your Legacy in One Small Story" (Tarcher, $15.95), on Tuesday, Aug. 4. His book explains how to write "last says" — short personal narratives that reflect on the people, actions and events that have shaped your life and your values.

>>Cheryl Della Pietra, who was once Hunter S. Thompson's assistant, will discuss her debut novel, "Gonzo Girl" ( Touchstone Books, $24.99), on Wednesday, Aug. 5. The novel is about a young woman trying to break into publishing who becomes an assistant to a famous author known for his considerable talent and wild behavior (much like Thompson). Della Pietra is a longtime New York City magazine editor, writer, and copy editor who now lives in Branford.

>>Cookbook writer Kristen Miglore will talk about "Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook" (Ten Speed Press, $35), on Thursday, Aug. 6. The book offers 100 recipes said to inspire cooks, solve problems and embody brilliant ideas. Miglore is executive editor of Food52.com and writes its Genius Recipes column.

Mid-Life Insanity

East Lyme Public Library, 39 Society Road, Niantic, will present a free program by performance poet, musician and humorist Andy Weil on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m.

Weil, of Bloomfield, will read poems and entertain with stories and commentary about such issues as mid-life crises, old age and computer-addicted America.

Information: 860-739-6926.

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