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Fall Brings Award-Winning Authors For Workshops, Luncheons

Special to The Courant
Talks by novelists and nonfiction award winners among highlights for book lovers this fall

Talks by novelists and nonfiction award winners and a children's book fair are among the highlights for book lovers this fall. Here is a listing of just a few of the scheduled events from September through December:

September

Matthew Dicks, the Newington author and elementary school teacher in West Hartford, a MothStorySLAM champion and a co-founder of the Speak Up storytelling organization, will launch his fourth novel, "The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs" (St. Martin's, $24.99), on Thursday, Sept. 17, at Barnes & Noble at Blue Back Square, 60 Isham Road, West Hartford. The event will include stories, student readers, a Q&A session and giveaways. Dicks' new novel is about a woman who takes action after decades of suffering in silence over a betrayal by her best friend in high school. Speaking out leads to welcome changes in her relationship with her daughter, her former friend and her life. Dicks' previous novels are "Something Missing," "Unexpectedly Milo" and "Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend," an international best-seller. Information: 860-236-9900 or matthewdicks.com.

Authors Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who won the 2011 Harriet Beecher Stowe Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice, for their best-selling nonfiction book, "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide," will speak Sept. 29, at 6:30 p.m., at Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland St., Hartford. Kristof, a New York Times columnist, and WuDunn will discuss their latest book, "A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity" (Vintage, $15.95). Premium tickets: $45 (includes the book and an author reception at 5:30 p.m.). Program tickets: $25. Reservations and information: APathAtStowe.BrownPaperTickets.com or 860-522-9258, Ext. 305.

The Fall 2015 Russell House Writers Series on the Wesleyan University campus in Middletown will present a talk on Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. by Brando Skyhorse, author of the memoir "Take This Man" (Simon & Schuster, $15.99) and "The Madonnas of Echo Park," which received the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award and the Sue Kaufman Award for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Skyhorse is a visiting writer at the university. The free series talks are held at Russell House, Wesleyan University, 50 High St., Middletown. Information: 860-685-3448 or wesleyan.edu/writingevents.

October

The Connecticut Forum will present "The Next Big Thing," an onstage conversation about innovations in technology, medicine, education and the workplace with international best-selling author Fareed Zakaria and Joi Ito, director of MIT Media Lab, on Oct. 3, at 8 p.m., at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. Zakaria's books and commentary on global affairs, economic growth, nationalism and power have won an international audience. His latest book is "In Defense of a Liberal Education" (Norton, $23.95). Tickets, including all fees, range from $39 to $99. Reservations: 860-509-0909 or ctforum.org.

Friends of the Avon Library will host its Sixth Literary Luncheon on Oct. 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Golf Club of Avon, 160 Country Club Road, Avon. The speaker will be Christina Baker Kline, author of "Orphan Train" (Morrow, $24.99). Her No. 1 New York Times best-selling novel tells the story of a foster teenager and an elderly widow who as a girl was a passenger on an "orphan train" taking homeless kids across the country, some to adoptive families and others to lives of hard labor. The real-life trains ran from the mid-1800s to the Great Depression. Tickets are $40. Reservations and information: 860-673-9712 or avonctlibrary.info.

November

The annual Mark My Words fundraising gala for the Mark Twain House & Museum will have an intergalactic theme when "Mark My Words V ... In A Galaxy Far, Far Away" takes place Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland St., Hartford. Five authors — Jason Fry, John Ostrander, Mark Stackpole, Ryder Windham and Timothy Zahn — who have among them written more than 100 "Star Wars" books, including novels, comics, reference books, children's books, and graphic novels, will speak at a panel discussion at the event, which anticipates the release of the movie "Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens." Tickets are $35 through Nov. 1 and $45 after. VIP tickets are $85 and include premium seating, a poster signed by authors, and admission to the Death Star Disco & Desserts after-party at The Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford, for which costumes are encouraged. Information and reservations: 860-280-3130 or twaininspace.com.

The Twentieth Annual Wallace Stevens Birthday Bash, which honors the acclaimed modernist poet who made his home in Hartford, will take place Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. at the Center for Contemporary Culture at Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St., Hartford, presented by the library and the Friends and Enemies of Wallace Stevens. The guest speaker will be Lisa Goldfarb, a Stevens scholar. Goldfarb will speak about "Accents, Syllables and Sounds: How Wallace Stevens Transforms Us into Musical Readers." The event includes a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception and birthday cake and Champagne. A suggested donation of $10 will benefit the library. Information: jforjames@aol.com or 860-508-2810 or stevenspoetry.org.

The free 23rd annual Connecticut Children's Book Fair, a project of the University of Connecticut Libraries and the UConn Co-op, will bring prominent children's authors and illustrators to the Rome Commons Ballroom Rome Hall, South Campus Complex University of Connecticut, Storrs, on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. They will give presentations and sign books, and sales proceeds will support the Northeast Children's Literature Collection at the UConn Libraries. Costumed book characters will be on hand, such as Clifford the Big Red Dog. Authors will include Aaron Becker, Jeanne Birdsall, Sophia Blackall, Elisha Cooper, Brian Floca, Tommy Greenwald, Alan Katz, Cynthia Lord, P.J. Lynch, Florence and Wendell Minor, Spencer Quinn, Anne Rockwell, Lizzy Rockwell, Sergio Ruzzier, Stephen Savage and Jane Sutcliffe. Information: bookfair.uconn.edu.

The annual Mandell JCC Jewish Book Festival will feature lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz, author of "Abraham - The World's First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer" (Schocken, $26), a history of Jewish lawyers from Abraham to current advocates, when it opens Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Mandell Jewish Community Center, 335 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford. Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus, is the best-selling author of more than 30 books and contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. Tickets are $25. Other festival events will be held in January, March and May. Information and reservations: 860-231-6313 or mandelljcc.org.

How does a famous authority on movies watch a film? Critic David Thompson, who has written more than 30 books about film and contributed to The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, The New Republic, Salon and other magazines, will explain at a free talk about his book, "How to Watch a Movie" (Knopf, $24.95), on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison. The book is a guide to assessing actors, shots, cuts, dialogue and music in classic and contemporary movies, and suggests how, where and with whom to watch a film. Information and reservations: 203-245-3959 or rjjulia.com.

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