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Gina Barreca Talks About Being Funny In 2017; New R.J. Julia Podcast

Special To The Courant

Gina Barreca, the best-selling author, humorist and UConn professor of English and feminist theory, will visit the Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford, on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. for a Mark My Words event.

Barreca, who writes a weekly column for The Courant, will talk about "How to be Funnier in 2017: Why Humor Matters." Her books include "They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted," and "It's Not That I'm Bitter, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World." Her latest is "'If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?': Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times" (St. Martin's Press, $25.95), and the first 50 people who register will receive a free copy. Tickets are $25. Information and registration: 860-247-0998 or marktwainhouse.org.

Just The Right Book Podcast

Roxanne Coady, founder of R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, will launch its new podcast on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m., at the bookstore.

Coady hosts the episodes, which have featured such authors as Amy Bloom, James Patterson, Jacques Pepin, Matthew Dicks, Gina Barreca and Deidre Bair. Each offers information and insights into work by popular and emerging authors and news of the literary world. Information and registration: rjjulia.com or bookpodcast.com.

Avon Local Author Festival

Avon Free Public Library's Local Author Festival, whose 2017 theme is Conversations, will return for its fourth year in June, July and August. More than 100 New England-based authors of fiction, mysteries, history, biography, children's books and poetry have given talks at the festival.

The featured presenter this year will be Jessica Robinson, author of "New England Farmgirl: Recipes & Stories from a Farmer's Daughter" (Gibbs Smith, $30), who will speak at the library on June 29.

Authors who wish to take part must complete a library survey to be considered, and Farmington Valley authors will be given preference. The deadline for completing the survey is March 17 at 5 p.m. Information and survey link: avonctlibrary.info/localauthorfest.html.

Connecticut Book Awards

April 21 is the deadline to submit nominations for the 2017 Connecticut Book Awards, which have been reinstated by Connecticut Humanities' Connecticut Center for the Book and will be announced in October.

The awards will honor authors of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as well as authors and illustrators of books for young readers in juvenile, young adult and teen categories.

To be nominated, the author or illustrator of a book or anthology must live in Connecticut now and for at least three successive years or have been born in the state, or the nominated work must be substantially set in Connecticut. The books must have been first published in 2016. Information and complete nomination rules: http://bit.ly/CTBook2017.

'Mixed Feelings'

Teja Arboleda, author of "Mixed Feelings: An Illustrated Guide for Biracial & Multiracial Kids And Their Families" (Entertaining Diversity Press, $14.95), and other books that support multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural or adopted families and "blended" individuals, will give a free talk Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford. William Howe, who teaches education at UConn, Albertus Magnus College and Quinnipiac University, will join the conversation. Reservations: harrietbeecherstowecenter.org or 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

Poetry At The Metro

The West End Poetry Series: Poetry at The Metro will continue Saturday, Feb. 18, with lunch and music at 2:30 p.m. at the Metro Cafe, 580 Farmington Ave., Hartford. State poet laureate Rennie McQuilkin and poets Afaa Weaver and Antoinette Brim will read. Information: 860-965-8800 or poetryontheporch@gmail.com.

Wintonbury Branch Poetry

The free Wintonbury Branch Poetry Series at McMahon Wintonbury Library, 1015 Blue Hills Ave., Bloomfield, will continue Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. with a reading by Charlie Rossiter, followed by an open mike. Information: prosserlibrary.info or 860-242-0041.

Hartford's North End

Dennis Sullivan, author of the memoir "Irving Street & Other Hartford Memories" (Diggy Pod, $15), will give a free talk with photos called "The Way It Was — Hartford's North End (1900-1965)" on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m., at the Franciscan Center for Urban Ministries, 285 Church St., Hartford, presented by the Men's Fellowship group of St. Patrick — St. Anthony's Church. Parking is available in the church lot.

Sullivan's book includes chapters about St. Joseph Cathedral School, the 1944 Circus Fire, sandlot baseball, Weaver High School, the Lenox Theater, Weaver's powerhouse basketball teams from 1954-1957, North End celebrities and other local history. Information: 860-756-4034 or spsact.org.

'Lift and Separate'

Marilyn Simon Rothstein, of Avon, will discuss her debut novel, "Lift and Separate" (Lake Union Publishing, $14.95) at a meeting of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 10 a.m. at Sycamore Hills Park Community Center, 635 West Avon Road, Avon. The event is free and open to all.

Her book is a comic novel about a long-married wife whose life suddenly sags when her husband, who has made a fortune marketing brassieres, leaves her for a 32DD lingerie model. Information: aboutcapa.com/avon.htm.

Poetry of Love

On Valentine's Day, which is Tuesday, Feb. 14, the West Hartford Senior Center at Bishops Corner, 15 Starkel Road, West Hartford, will host a luncheon at 1 p.m. with harp music, a reading of famous poems about love and a talk by town poet laureate Christine Beck. Admission is $5 for center members and $6 for non-members. Information: 860-561-7583.

'The Kitty'

Shawn P. Flynn, of Enfield, author of "The Kitty: Who Rescued Me After I Rescued Him" (CreateSpace, $9.95), will sign books along with 11 other authors Friday, Feb. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at Sharing The Light Wholistic Center, 395 West Avon Road, Avon. Information: shawnpflynn@yahoo.com or 860-936-0012.

Morning Book Club

The free Morning Book Club, which meets monthly on a Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Avon Free Public Library, 281 Country Club Road, Avon, is welcoming new members. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the informal group will discuss "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman. Upcoming discussions include "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood on Apr. 19 and "The Woman in Cabin 10" by Ruth Ware on May 17. Information: avonctlibrary.info or 860-673-9712.

Mystery Book Discussion

Carole Shmurak, of Farmington, who writes the Susan Lombardi mystery novels, will lead a free discussion at Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, on Monday, Feb, 13, at noon for the Simsbury Mystery Group's series, Native American Sleuths, Part 2. The book to be discussed is "Dance for the Dead" by Thomas Perry. Information: 860-658-7663.

Editor's Note: This listing has been updated to correct the date of the book signings for authors appearing at Sharing The Light Wholistic Center, 395 West Avon Road, Avon.

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