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Stowe Center Presenting Social Justice Awards

Special To the Courant
Among this week's book events: Ally Hilfiger talks about her battle with Lyme Disease

The annual Stowe Prize Award presentation will take place at a Big Tent Jubilee on Thursday, June 2, at 6 p.m., on the grounds of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford, following a free panel discussion from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland St., Hartford.

The event, which awards writing that promotes social justice, will honor University of Virginia student Martese Johnson and high school student Nina Sachs, of Chicago, who are this year's Student Stowe Prize winners.

Andrew Aydin, co-author with U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia of the best-selling graphic memoir series about the civil rights movement, "March," will award the prizes and speak. Aydin and the students also will be panelists at the "Inspiration to Action: Real Stories of Social Change" panel discussion at the church.

Johnson won for his essay, "Reflections After a Trending Hashtag: Criminal Justice and the Events of March 18, 2015," published in Vanity Fair. Sachs won for her article, "Empowering Women, Period," which was published in Teen Ink.

The Jubilee will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $175 for cocktails, dinner and the presentation or $300 for those events and a reception with Aydin. Reservations: HarrietBeecherStowe.org or 860-522-9258, ext. 305.

Authors At R.J. Julia

A novel about the murder of a teenager, a nonfiction account of recovery from Lyme disease and a novel about a quirky New England family will be discussed in free talks at R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison. All events require reservations: 203-245-3959 or rjjulia.com.

On Tuesday, May 31, at 5:30 p.m., Sara Hammel will give a talk about her debut novel, "The Underdogs" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99.) The book follows the adventures of two pre-teen girls who shadow a detective who is trying to solve the murder of a popular teenager. Hammel, a former ranked tennis player, is a journalist who has written for such publications as People, The Sunday Times Magazine (UK), U.S. News & World Report and Glamour.

On Wednesday, June 1, at 7 p.m., Ally Hilfiger, a producer, actress, artist, fashion designer, writer, and daughter of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, will talk about her book, "Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me" (Center Street, $27). The book tells how she suffered a psychotic break at age 18 after having suffered various unexplained debilitating symptoms since age 7, a condition finally diagnosed as Lyme disease. It explains how she healed physically, mentally and emotionally.

On Thursday, June 2, at 7 P.m., best-selling Connecticut novelist Ann Leary will give a free talk about her latest novel, "The Children" (St. Martin's Press, $26.99), about a wealthy and quirky New England family that harbors many secrets. It is her third novel, following "The Good House" (scheduled to become a film starring Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro) and "Outtakes From a Marriage" and the memoir, "An Innocent, A Broad."

Leary also will speak at Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, on June 29, at 6:30 p.m. Register by June 22: 860-658-7663 or simsburylibrary.info.

Local Authors Fair

Russell Library, 123 Broad St., Middletown, will present a Local Authors Fair on Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Writers of fiction, nonfiction, mystery novels and more will greet patrons and sign copies of their books. Among the 16 authors participating will be Susan Allison, Janet Barrett, Steve Liskow, Hanna Perlstein Marcus and Arthur Wiknik, Jr.

The free event is funded by The Friends of the Russell Library. Information: 860-347-2528 or russelllibrary.org.

Bloomfield Poets

As part of the annual Celebrate Bloomfield event, a program featuring poems about the town and other original works by poets who live there, will take place Saturday, June 4, from noon to 4 p.m., at Prosser Public Library, 1 Tunxis Ave., Bloomfield.

Poems about Bloomfield will be read from noon to 1 p.m. From 1 to 3:15 p.m., 13 poets will read their work in 10-minute segments, followed by a sale of their books at 3:15 p.m. and an open mike from 3:30 to 4 p.m. The poets, in order of appearance, are Iris J. Arenson-Fuller, Kathy Carle, Carl Dean, Bonnie Enes, Carol G. Fine. Donna Fleischer, Marilyn Johnston, Broderick May, Melissa McEwen, Michelle McEwen, Garrett Phelan, Tom Nicotera and Andy Weil. Information: prosserlibrary.info or 860-243-9721.

Vampire Novella

Author Christine Church will give a free talk about her debut novella, "Sands of Time: Fate of the True Vampires" (CreateSpace, $5.49), on Wednesday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the Whiton Library Auditorium, 100 North Main St., Manchester. The first in a planned series, the book was written for adult fans of the vampire genre, here presented as translated scripts found by archaeologists. Information: 860-645-0821.

Keeping It Classy

The Keeping It Classy Book Club at Whiton Branch Library, 100 N. Main St., Manchester, which focuses on classic works of literature, will meet Thursday, June 2, at 6:30 p.m.

The book to be discussed is the early science fiction novel, "The Time Machine," by H. G. Wells. It is about a time traveler who visits the dying Earth 800,000 years in the future, where the elite Eloi and the crude Morlocks represent the dual nature of humans.

Copies are available at Mary Cheney Library, 586 Main St., Manchester and the Whiton Branch Library. Information: 860-643-2471 or library.townofmanchester.org.

Mystery Book Discussion

Carole Shmurak, of Farmington, who writes the Susan Lombardi mystery novels, will lead a free discussion on Wednesday, June 1, at 3 p.m., of "What the Dead Know" by Laura Lippman for part 5 of the Wallingford Mystery Group: The Award Goes To series, at Wallingford Public Library, 200 N. Main St., Wallingford. Information: 203-265-6754.

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