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'Star Wars' Is The Theme of Mark My Words Gala For Twain House

Special to The Courant
Mark My Words fundraising gala for the Mark Twain House & Museum Center goes intergalactic Nov. 6

The annual Mark My Words fundraising gala for the Mark Twain House & Museum Center will go intergalactic when "Mark My Words V ... In a Galaxy Far, Far Away" takes place Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. at Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland St., Hartford.

Five authors — John Ostrander, Mark Stackpole, Ryder Windham, Timothy Zahn and Jason Fry — who have between them written more than 100 "Star Wars''-themed novels, graphic novels, comics, reference and children's books, will speak at a panel discussion. The movie "Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens" will be released in December.

Tickets are $35 through Sunday, Nov. 1, and $45 afterward. VIP tickets are $85 and include premium seats, signed poster and admission to the Death Star Disco & Desserts after-party at The Mark Twain House & Museum Center, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford. Costumes are encouraged. Information and reservations: 860-280-3130 or twaininspace.com.

The Twain House also will present two free BookMark talks. On Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m., Lynn Cullen, author of "Twain's End" (Gallery Books, $26), a fictionalized version of Twain's complicated relationship with Isabel V. Lyon, his secretary, and her husband and Twain's business manager, Ralph Ashcroft, will speak. On Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m., author Michael Riedel will discuss "Razzle Dazzle: The Battle For Broadway"(Simon & Schuster, $27), about the Schubert Organization and its role in reviving New York's theater world, with Frank Rizzo, The Courant's theater writer. Reservations: 860-247-0998 or marktwainhouse.org.

The Twain House also will offer two writing workshops on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. Each costs $40. Donna Martin, a performer, teacher and writer, will lead a workshop on songwriting. Best-selling author of fantasy and science fiction novels Mike Stackpole will lead a workshop called "21 Days to Write a Novel." Registration: 860-247-0998 or marktwainhouse.org.

Stevens Birthday Bash

The 20th Annual Wallace Stevens Birthday Bash, which honors the modernist poet who lived in Hartford, will take place Saturday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. at the Center for Contemporary Culture, Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St., Hartford, presented by the library and The Friends and Enemies of Wallace Stevens.

Lisa Goldfarb, a Stevens scholar who teaches at New York University, will speak about "Accents, Syllables, and Sounds: How Wallace Stevens Transforms Us into Musical Readers." The celebration will include wine and hors d'oeuvres, birthday cake and champagne. A suggested donation of $10 will benefit the library.

Information: 860-508-2810 or stevenspoetry.org.

Conversations that Challenge

The Riverwood Poetry Series will present "Conversations that Challenge: Poetry, Race, and Racism" on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 1 to 9 p.m. at the Mark Twain House & Museum Center, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford.

Poetry writing workshops at 1 p.m. will be led by Kate Rushin and David Mills and at 2 p.m. by Antoinette Brim and Rickey Laurentiis. At 3:15 p.m., poet and actor David Mills will perform his one-man play about Langston Hughes. At 4:30 p.m. there will be an open mike or a tour of the Twain House. Box dinners can be purchased at 5:45 p.m. Laurentiis, winner of the 2014 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, will read at 7 p.m., followed by a panel discussion and conversation on "Poetry and the Racial Divide." The events are free, except for the dinner.

Registration: riverwoodpoetry.org. Information: 860-233-7852.

WordForge Reading Series

Poets Michael Cervas and Bruce Cohen will give a free WordForge Reading Series program, followed by an open mike, on Monday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m., at The Studio @ Billings Forge, 563 Broad St., Hartford.

Cervas teaches English at Westminster School in Simsbury and directs the Westminster Poetry Series. His latest collection is "A Wilderness of Chances" (Antrim House, $20). Cohen, an English professor at UConn, has won awards for his poetry and nonfiction. His new collection is "No Soap, Radio!" (Black Lawrence Press, $13.95).

Information: 860-508-2810 or wfreadings.blogspot.com.

Authors At R.J. Julia

R.J. Julia Booksellers, 678 Boston Post Road, Madison, will present authors at the store, except as noted. All events require registration: 203-245-3959 or rjjulia.com.

On Sunday, Nov. 1, at 2 p.m., Stanley Greenberg, a best-selling author and political pollster, will discuss his book, "America Ascendant: A Revolutionary Nation's Path to Addressing Its Deepest Problems and Leading the 21st Century" (Thomas Dunne Books $28.99).

On Monday, Nov. 2, at Field House Farm, 605 Green Hill Road., Madison, Amy Goldman will discuss her illustrated book, "Heirloom Harvest: Modern Daguerreotypes of Historic Garden Treasures" (Bloomsbury USA, $85). Goldman, a plant conservationist, grows heirloom fruit and vegetables in the Hudson Valley of New York.

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m., Karen E. Olson will talk about the first book in her new mystery series, "Hidden" (Severn House Publishers, $28.95). It is a suspenseful story of a woman who lives off the grid and what happens when her real identity as a hacker becomes known.

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m., Duff Goldman, of the Food Network's Ace of Cakes series, will discuss "Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home" (William Morrow & Co., $27.50), which offers 130 recipes.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, authors and oral historians Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer will discuss her book, "It Happened in Miami, the Magic City: An Oral History" and his book, "When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl" (both from Taylor Trade Publishing, $29.95). The Miami history, timed for the city's 100th anniversary, features commentary by nearly 70 interviewees. The Super Bowl book is the story of the NFL-AFL championship football game on Jan. 15, 1967: Packers vs. Chiefs.

'Happy Kid Handbook'

Katie Hurley, a West Hartford native who is a child and adolescent psychotherapist in Los Angeles, will give several free talks about her book, "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World" (Tarcher, $16.95), which encourages parents to see their kids as individuals. Hurley also writes the Practical Parenting blog.

She will speak Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. at Mandell Jewish Community Center, 335 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford (reservations: 860-236-4571) and on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. at The Country School, 341 Opening Hill Road, Madison (reservations: 203-245-3959. On Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m., she will take questions and sign books at Barnes & Noble, 60 Isham Road, West Hartford (information: 860-236-9900).

Author Lunch

The Hickory Stick Bookshop, 2 Green Hill Road, Washington Depot. will host a Meet an Author for Lunch event on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at noon with Cheryl Della Pietra, who was once Hunter S. Thompson's assistant. She will discuss her debut novel, "Gonzo Girl" (Touchstone Books, $24.99), about a young woman who becomes an assistant to a famous and wild-living author much like Thompson. Della Pietra is a New York City magazine editor and writer who lives in Branford. Admission is the purchase of her book at the bookstore.

Information: 860-868-0525 or hickorystickbookshop.com.

Van den Berg at UConn

Short story writer Laura van den Berg, who won the 2014 O. Henry Award and the Bard Fiction Prize, will give a free reading at an Aetna Writer-in-Residence event on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 6 p.m., at the UConn Co-op Bookstore, One Royce Circle, 101 Storrs Center, on the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs.

Information: 860-486-8525 or creativewriting.uconn.edu.

Bloomfield Poetry Reading

Poet Marilyn Johnson will give a free reading, "Under the Blue Hills–Bloomfield, CT," on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m., at the Bloomfield History Center, 153 School St., Bloomfield.

Johnston, who has lived in Bloomfield for 30 years, will read poems about its people, places, sights and sounds. Her collections include "Silk Fist Songs" ($18) and "Weight of the Angel" ($17), published by Antrim House Books.

Information: bloomfieldcthistory.org.

Authors At Wesleyan

Jaimy Gordon, who won the 2010 National Book Award for Fiction for her novel, "Lord of Misrule" (Vintage, $15) will give a free reading on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 8 p.m., at Russell House, 350 High St., Middletown, on the Wesleyan University campus.

On Thursday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m., Writing at Wesleyan will present a free talk by Joseph J. Fins at Russell House. A doctor and medical researcher who is chief of the division of medical ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College and its director of ethics, Fins is the author of "Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethic, and the Struggle for Consciousness (Cambridge University Press,$27.99).

Information: 860-685-3448 or wesleyan.edu/writingevents

Blakeslee In West Hartford

On Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m., at the West Hartford Public Library, 20 S. Main St., West Hartford, author Vanessa Blakeslee will give a free talk and reading. Her novel, "Juventud" (Curbside splendor, $15.95), is about a privileged girl in Colombia who falls in love with an activist but must flee the violence there to survive. Blakeslee's debut story collection, "Train Shots" (Burrow, $15.99), won the 2014 IPPY Gold Medal in Short Fiction.

Information: 860-561-6950 or westhartfordlibrary.org.

We Shall Not Be Moved

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and The Mark Twain House & Museum will host a free Nook Farm Author Talk with M.J. O'Brien, author of "We Shall Not Be Moved: The Jackson Woolworth's Sit-In and the Movement It Inspired" (University Press of Mississippi, $25) on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford.

The book tells the story of the three people – one black, two white – who were photographed sitting in for equality in 1963 at a Mississippi lunch counter while angry racists poured food over their heads. The photograph became famous and intrigued O'Brien, who documents its history and the wider civil rights movement in the book.

Reservations: 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

Nyberg At UConn Co-op

Ann Nyberg, WTNH-TV's longest-serving anchor/reporter, who now anchors its 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, will talk about "Slices of Life: A Storyteller's Diary" (Homebound, $16.95), her memoir based on a diary she began keeping at age 8, on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m., at the UConn Co-op Bookstore, One Royce Circle, Storrs Center, Storrs.

Information: 860-486-8525.

National Authors Day

Nine authors will take part in a free National Authors Day event on Sunday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Book Club Bookstore, 100 Main St., in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor.

The authors and their books are: Judith Dreyer ("At the Garden's Gate," Friesen Press, $13.99); Leesa Freeman ("The Wisdom to Know the Difference," Pimpernel Publishing, $14.95); June Grieg ("A Dog to Remember," Evergreen Bay Publishing, $9.99); Martin Herman ("The Jefferson Files," First Edition Design Publishing, $14.95); June Hyjek ("Unexpected Grace," Meridian Media Publishing, $16.95); Stephanie Jarrett-Manson ("How Hot is Hell," CreateSpace $14.99); Fern Michonski "Rockrhydin" (Fern Forest Enterprises, $13.95); Casey Morley ("Crawling Out," Balboa Press, $20.99); and E. J. Simon ("Death Never Sleeps," SimZef Publishing, $15.99).

Information: 860-623-5100.

Legendary Locals

Amy Melissa Kirby, author of "Legendary Locals of New Britain" (Arcadia, $21.99), will give a free talk Thursday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m., at Lucy Robbins Welles Library, 95 Cedar St., Newington. Her book is a a pictorial history of New Britain with vintage photos of notable residents.

Information: 860-665-8700.

Say It Or Sing It

Glastonbury's Poet Laureate Alexandrina Sergio will host a Favorite Poem Session at which participants will say or sing favorite poems or song lyrics at on Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Welles Turner Memorial Library, 2407 Main St., Glastonbury. The gospel-jazz-folk group "Wait For It" will entertain, and there will be a poetry book giveaway. Information: poet.laureate@glastonbury-ct.gov or 860- 633-2653.

Real Housewife Radziwill

Mohegan Sun's Reality Check will present Carole Radziwill, of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New York," who will discuss her romantic and witty novel, "The Widow's Guide's To Sex and Dating" (St. Martin's Griffin, $15.99) at a Divas Friday event on Friday, Nov. 6, at The Shops at Mohegan Sun at the casino, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville. Radziwill is a best-selling author and former ABC News reporter. She will speak at 8 p.m. and sign copies of the book purchased at Spin Street at 9 p.m.

Information: 888-226-7711 or mohegansun.com/events-and-promotions/schedule-of-events/carole-radziwill.html.

Poetry In Bloomfield

The Archbishop O'Brien Library at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield, will host a free talk on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 10:30 a.m., by poet Sharon Chace about her collection, "Cape Ann and Beyond the Cut Bridge: Culling and Cart-wheeling" (Resource Publications, $18).

Chace, an artist and writer, has a master's in theology from Weston Jesuit School of Theology. She has published many books and articles about art and faith.

Registration: 860-242-5573, ext. 2608/2609.

Forner Bishop To Speak

Former Episcopal Bishop of Newark John Shelby Spong, a champion of progressive views on Christianity and human rights who has published 24 books, will give a free program from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, at First Church of Christ Congregational, 12 S. Main St., West Hartford. His talk will focus on his book "Eternal Life: A New Vision Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell" (HarperOne, $14.99). Non-perishable food donations for the West Hartford Food Pantry are welcomed.

Information: 860-232-3893 or jpwebsterdir@snet.net.

Matthew Dicks In Wilton

Matthew Dicks, who lives in Newington and is an elementary schoolteacher in West Hartford, MothStorySLAM champion and co-founder of the Speak Up storytelling organization, will give a free talk about his fourth novel, "The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs" (St. Martin's, $24.99) on Wednesday, Nov. 4., at 7 p.m., at Wilton Library, 137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton.

Information: 203-762-3950.

Mystery Book Discussion

Carole Shmurak of Farmington, who writes the Susan Lombardi mystery novels, will lead a free discussion on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 3 p.m., of "L.A. Requiem" by Robert Crais for the Wallingford Mystery Group: City of Angels, Part 3 series, at Wallingford Public Library, 200 N. Main St., Wallingford. Information: 203-265-6754.

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