Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival at Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington is June 11 to Aug. 6. (Andrea Wise, Courant file photo / July 25, 2012)

Events featuring authors and poets are scheduled this spring and summer. Here are some highlights:

Neil Gaiman

International best-selling British author of fantasy, whose work includes the comic book series "The Sandman" and novels "Stardust," "American Gods" and "Coraline," among others, will appear at R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, on June 3 at 4 p.m. to sign copies of his latest novel for adults, "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" (Morrow, $25.99). Admission to the signing line is a copy of the book purchased at the bookstore that day or pre-purchased there. Information: 203-245-3959 or www.rjjulia.com.

The 2014 Student Stowe Prize Big Tent Jubilee

June 5, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., on the lawn of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford. The national competition honors outstanding writing by U.S. high school and college students that inspires positive social change. A free program, Inspiring Action: Real Stories of Social Change, will take place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at nearby Immanuel Congregational Church. The $150 ticket includes cocktails, a picnic supper and the awards presentation. The $250 ticket also includes a cocktail reception with U.S. Rep. DeLauro, honorary chair of the event. Tickets and information: cjason@stowecenter.org or 860-522-9258, ext. 305.

Dan Brown

 mega-best-selling novelist who gained world-wide fame with "The DaVinci Code" and whose latest, "Inferno," was Amazon's No. 1 bestseller last year, will speak June 7 at 8 p.m. at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford, in conversation with WNPR radio personality John Dankosky. Tickets are $25 to $75, and VIP tickets are $250, which includes a pre-event reception at The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Information and reservations: 860-987-5900 or bushnell.org.

The Annual Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

This festival features nationally acclaimed and locally honored poets and musical performances June 11-Aug. 6. It kicks off with National Book Award finalist Kevin Young and V. Penelope Pelizzon of Willimantic and will take place every other Wednesday through Aug. 6 on the grounds of the Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Road, Farmington. Pulitzer Prize nominee Frank Bidart will appear June 25 with Benjamin S. Grossberg of West Hartford; poet and critic Alicia Ostriker with John Stanizzi of Coventry on July 9; Jeffrey Harrison and Sunken Garden Poetry Prize winner Ted Lardner on July 23. Prize-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Hill-Stead's Fresh Voices Poetry Competition student winners and CT Poetry Circuit student poets will close the festival on Aug. 6. Gates open 4:30 pm; pre-performance talks 5 p.m.; opening poets 6 p.m.; music 6:30 p.m.; headlining poet 7:25 p.m. Tickets: $15; free for those 18 or younger; free parking. Bring seating, picnics or buy food there. Information: 860-677-4787 or www.hillstead.org.

The 58th Annual Wesleyan Writers Conference

Offering seminars, workshops, readings, panel discussions and manuscript consultations with a distinguished faculty, the conference runs June 11 to 15 on the university campus in Middletown, with classes on novels, short stories, poetry, nonfiction, memoir, biography, journalism, and writing for film, TV and new media and about food, travel, science and medicine. Faculty includes Salvatore Scibona, Amy Bloom, Roxana Robinson, Lis Harris, William Finnegan and many more. A one-day program June 14 includes seminars, talks, publishing advice and lunch and dinner. Tuition is $850 for the full conference and $225 for the one-day event. A food plan and lodging are optional. Information and registration: 860-685-3604 or agreene@wesleyan.edu or www.wesleyan.edu/writing/conference .

'Nellie Oleson' at Twain House

You know her as Nellie Oleson, the devious diva of TV's "Little House On The Prairie" and other shows, but Alison Arngrim also is a a stand-up comic, AIDS activist and author, and she will talk about her memoir. "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" (It Books, $25.99), on June 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mark Twain House & Museum Center, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford. Tickets are $20. Information: 860-280-3130 or www.museumtix.com.

One Big Sizzling Summer Night

This annual fundraiser for the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St., Hartford, takes place June 12 at 5:30 p.m. and features gourmet food and a talk by Ruth Reichl, the James Beard Award-winning author, former New York Times food critic and editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine, whose latest book is "Delicious!" (Random House, $27). It is a novel about a young woman who goes to work for a famous food magazine and finds an unexpected treasure. Tickets: $150 or $200, which includes a VIP cocktail reception, preferred speaker seating and preferred parking. Information and reservations: www.hplct.org or 860- 695-6300.

Rachel Swarns

A columnist and reporter for The New York Times, Swarns will give a free talk on her book about First Lady Michelle Obama's black, white and mixed-racial ancestry, "American Tapestry" (Amistad, $16.99), on June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford. Swarns' book provided information about her family that Michelle Obama herself did not know. Swarns has covered such areas as domestic policy, national politics, immigration, the presidential campaigns of 2004 and 2008 and the First Lady's role in the Obama White House. Reservations: 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.

Connecticut Authors Trail

A group of libraries in Eastern Connecticut will present the 6th Annual Connecticut Authors Trail, at which authors who live in the state or write about it give free talks from July 8 to Sept. 4. "Passports" are stamped at each event, giving participants a chance to attend the closing event on Sept. 4 at Mohegan Sun casino. Wally Lamb gives the first talk on July 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Janet Carlson Calvert Library, 5 Tyler Dr., Franklin. Information: 860-642-6207 or connecticutauthorstrail.org/libraries.

Amy Bloom

A best-selling Connecticut author beloved by readers and critics alike will give a free talk on Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, about her new novel, "Lucky Us" (Random House, $26). It's the story of two teenage half-sisters who travel America in the 1940s, looking for fame and fortune and finding a lot more. Bloom has won many prizes for her short stories, novels and nonfiction, which include "Away," "Come to Me," "Love Invents Us" and "Normal," among others. Reservations: 203-245-3939 or www.rjjulia.com.