Write Stuff: Amy Bloom To Give Talks On 'White Houses'

Special to The Courant

Amy Bloom, a Wesleyan University professor and one of Connecticut’s most acclaimed writers, will discuss her new book, “White Houses.”

Bloom’s novel is based on the friendship that became an affair between First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and prominent journalist Lorena “Hick” Hickok. It draws on thousands of letters they exchanged after first meeting in 1932 and describes the passionate relationship they shared during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency and beyond. Hicks lived in the White House for a time and the relationship was not a secret; FDR also had affairs of his own.

Bloom will speak Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison. Registration: 203-245-3939 or rjjulia.com.

She also will speak Feb. 23 at Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, for which reservations are requested by Friday, Feb. 16: simsburylibrary.info (and click on “Calendar”) or 860-658-7663.

Also at R.J. Julia, on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m., lovers of dark humor may enjoy a free talk by comedian and “Conan” late-night TV show writer Laurie Kilmartin about her book, “Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed.” Kilmartin uses irreverent humor to help people cope with dying, death and grief. Reservations: 203-245-3939 or rjjulia.com.

A free Singles Awareness Day on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. at Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore, 413 Main St. Middletown, will include advice from Laura Wellington, author of “What to Do When Jane Knows Dick about Dating,” refreshments, a “Blind Date with a Book” opportunity and contests featuring Candy Conversation Hearts. Prizes will be awarded.

Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore will present a free talk on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m., by Tom Ryan, author of the bestseller about his dog, “Following Atticus.” His new book is “Will’s Red Coat,” about the elderly, ailing and sometimes violent dog the former journalist rescued and nurtured for its happy final several years.

Information on both events: books@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-3939.

Storyteller’s Cottage

The Storyteller’s Cottage, 750 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, offers a variety of literary events, including talks by authors, social hours with book themes, games and workshops.

On Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m., a free Author Night will present a talk by local author Nancy Roman, whose new novel is “Lucinda's Solution.” Set in 1918, it tells how a 17-year-old girl becomes a wife and mother of two toddlers when her older sister dies in the deadly flu epidemic.

On Friday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m., fans of the classic Nancy Drew books will gather for a Nancy Drew Mystery Challenge and Tea Party for Adults, which includes a “Dame Disappears” mystery room game and tea in the Cottage’s English Kitchen. Cost: $35.

Reservations: 860-877-6099 or StorytellersCottage.com.

Book Club Bookstore

​Book Club Bookstore & More, 869 Sullivan Ave., South Windsor, will host a meeting of its Chat & Chew Book Club on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. Participants should read “Banana Cream Pie Murder” by Joanne Fluke and make a dish from its recipes to share at the meeting.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 3 p.m., Hartford author Barbara J. Beeching will lead a talk and discussion on the origins of the black middle class in Hartford, which is the topic of her recent book, “Hopes and Expectations.” Based on more than 200 letters from the 1860s, it is the story of three young African-Americans who lived in the North. 860-432-7411 or bookclubct.com.

“Pie Man” And “Dinner Parties”

John Surowiecki, a poet and author of the novel “Pie Man,” and Edwina Trentham, a poet whose chapbook, “Dinner Parties,” is a sonnet series illustrated by artist Nancy Goodrich, will give a free reading on Sunday, Feb. 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Two Wrasslin’ Cats, 374 Town St., East Haddam. Goodrich will discuss her illustrations at the event.

Surowiecki, of Hebron, has published a dozen poetry collections and has won many awards. “Pie Man” won the Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. Trentham taught English at Asnuntuck Community College for 27 years, founded the Freshwater Poetry Journal and has been widely published. 860-873-1472 or trentham@comcast.net.

Wintonbury Branch Poetry

The free Wintonbury Branch Poetry Series will continue Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m., followed by an open mic, at McMahon Wintonbury Library, 1015 Blue Hills Ave., Bloomfield,

Michael Czarnecki will present a program called “Poems from a Wandering Poet and Poetry Publisher.” Tom Nicotera will host. prosserlibrary.info or 860-242-0041.

Susanne Davis At UConn

The University of Connecticut’s Creative Writing Program will host a free reading by Susanne Davis from her short story collection, “The Appointed Hour,” on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. at UConn Barnes & Noble Bookstore, One Royce Circle, 101 Storrs Center.

Davis is a UConn graduate whose short stories have been published in literary magazines. She teaches creative writing at UConn and Trinity College. 860-486-8525 or creativewriting.uconn.edu.

Salon At Stowe

On Thursday, Feb. 15, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., following refreshments at 5 p.m., the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford, will host a free Salon at Stowe discussion titled “Many Faiths, One Conversation,” whose panelists are women from Abraham's Daughters, an interfaith group representing Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions.

Author Carol Ascher, who studies equity and prejudice in public education and has published six books will be joined by Vjosa Qerimi, an Albanian from Kosovo who is vice-president of Common Ground Institute and Services; Nancy Latif, a social activist and writer who helps to resettle refugees; and Eileen Epperson, hospice chaplain for the Salisbury Visiting Nurses Association and a bereavement counselor. Reservations: HarrietBeecherStowe.org or 860-522-9258, x317.

“Dead And Gone”

Windsor author Mark L. Dressler will give a free talk about his mystery novel, “Dead and Gone,” at Manchester Public Library, 586 Main Street, on Monday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. In it, Hartford detective Dan Shields re-encounters the thug who nearly killed him six years earlier.

Dressler, a native of Hartford, is a retired business owner and a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Partial proceeds from his books are donated to Boston Children’s Hospital. 860-645-0821 or library.townofmanchester.org.

Bank Square Books

On Sunday, Feb. 11, from 1 to 3 p.m., Bank Square Books. 53 West Main St., Mystic, will host a book signing with local author JessieMay Kessler, whose memoir is “A Bird and The Dragon: Their Love Story.” It tells how two people met at a divorce support group, fell in love and took on the challenge of creating a blended family with five daughters. 860-536-3794 or banksquarebooks.com.

Macy In New Canaan

Caitlin Macy, whose new novel is “Mrs.,” about the insecurities of three New York women from different social worlds whose lives become entwined, will give a talk at The New Canaan Library, 151 Main St., New Canaan on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 6:30 p.m.

Macy also is the author of “The Fundamentals of Play” and “Spoiled.” Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine and Slate. 203-594-5000 or newcanaanlibrary.org.

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