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Authors On Vintage Baseball, Auto Racing And Cats Giving Talks At Twain House

Special To The Courant

Books about auto racing, baseball and cats will be discussed at programs at the Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford, and writing workshops and courses are being offered there.

>>On Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m., five experts from the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) will give a free talk of "base ball" as it was played during the 19th century. The moderator will be Mark Twain House & Museum's Education Manager, Craig Hotchkiss, a former vintage "base ball" player. The SABR panelists are John Thorn (Major League Baseball's official historian), David Arcidiacono, Gary O'Maxfield, Joe Williams and Bill Ryczek.

>>On Saturday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m., three writers, Allia Zobel Nolan, author of "Cat Confessions: A Kitty Come Clean Tell-All Book", "101 Reasons Why a Cat Is Better than a Man," "Women Who Still Love Cats Too Much" and many more books; Clea Simon, author of 16 cat detective books including the Dulcie Schwartz Feline mystery series; and Darlene Arden, Certified Animal Behaviorist Consultant and author of dozens of dog and cats books including "The Complete Cat's Meow", and "Beautiful Cats" will give a free talk on writing successful novels featuring feline characters.

>>On Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m., there will be a free BOOK/MARK discussion of "Trackrat: Memoir of a Fan" (CreateSpace, $20), with its author, Courant editorial cartoonist Bob Englehart Jr., and a panel featuring's Shawn Courchesne and local racers Sean Foster, Renee Dupuis and Ed Flemke Jr.

In the book, Englehart, a longtime track racing fan, explores this popular sport and also recalls his own childhood and the life of racer Shane Hammond, who was killed in a Connecticut track accident.

Reservations for each event: 860-280-3130 or

>>The Twain House also will presents fall writing classes through Dec. 6. Fees range from $40 for one-day workshops to $265 for six-session courses.

Workshop subjects are Writing Historical Biography, Finding an Agent, Flash Fiction, The Perfect Pitch, Dialogue, Writing an Op-Ed, Song Writing and Editing Boot Camp.

Courses are offered in Fiction, Political Poetry, Freelance Writing, Travel Writing, Nonfiction, Writing from Found Texts, Social Media for Writers and Self-Publishing.

>>Finding an Agent: A Writing Workshop with Susan Schoenberger, will be held Saturday, Sept. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. The cost is $40. Schoenberger is a writer, editor and author of two novels.

500 Words or Less: Flash Fiction Writing Workshop, will also be offered Saturday, Sept. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m., for $40. Award-winning writer and teacher Alison Devers, whose work has appeared in Tin House, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Slate, Salon and other publications, will teach how to write short but powerful fiction.

Registration is required: 860-280-3130 or online at

Bloom At Russell House

Acclaimed Connecticut author Amy Bloom will read from her new work on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m. at Wesleyan University's Russell House, 350 High St., Middletown.

Bloom is Wesleyan's Distinguished Writer in Residence. Her latest novel is "Lucky Us" (Random House, $26), and she also is the author of the novel, "Away" and three collections of short stories. Bloom has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and the Atlantic Monthly, among others, and has won a National Magazine Award. Information: 860-685-3448 or here.

Authors At R.J. Julia

Free talks about books about swimming puppies, family dinners, the history and culture of Italy and a trio of novels for Young Adult readers are on the calendar at R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, or as noted. Reservations are required: 203-245-3959 or

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m., author and photographer Seth Casteel will discuss "Underwater Puppies" (Little, Brown and Co., $16), a sequel to his bestselling "Underwater Dogs."

On Thursday, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m., the bookstore will co-sponsor with The Community Dining Room a potluck dinner with author Sarah Smiley. At 7 p.m., she will talk about her book, "Dinner with the Smileys: One Military Family, One Year of Heroes, and Lessons for a Lifetime" (Hyperion, $15).

Smiley, a columnist, blogger, Navy wife and daughter of a rear admiral, invited one guest each week for a year to have dinner with her and her sons while her Navy pilot husband, Dustin, was away on duty. Each guest shared valuable life lessons with the boys.

Also on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. at the New Haven Lawn Club, 193 Whitney Ave., New Haven, author Joseph Luzzi will discuss "My Two Italies" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23). Luzzi, a son of Italian immigrants and an award-winning scholar of Italian literature, art and film, links his family's dramatic story to the history of Italy, its more refined northern and more earthy southern regions, its struggle for a unifying language and its love of art, food and family.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m., the Fierce Reads Tour for younger readers will present authors Ann Aguirre, Caragh M. O'Brien and Marie Rutkoski.

Aguirre is the author of the novel "Mortal Danger" (Feiwel & Friends, $17.99), set in a school where revenge against bullies takes a devilish turn.

A teenage love story is the heart of Rutkoski's "The Winner's Curse (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99). In it, privileged Kestrel meets Arin, who lives in poverty, setting off impulsive decisions and betrayal. The author is a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College.

Sinister doings and hidden secrets at a prestigious arts school where student's lives are televised make up the plot of O'Brien's "The Vault of Dreamers" (Roaring Brook Press, $17.99). O'Brien, who lives in Connecticut, is the author of the acclaimed "Birthmarked" trilogy.

O'Brien Book Launch

Caragh M. O'Brien will launch her new Young Adult novel, "Vault of Dreamers" (Roaring Brook Press, $17.99)on Sunday, Sept. 14. at 3 p.m. at The UConn Co-op, One Royce Circle, 101 Storrs Center, Storrs. The book recounts nefarious doings at an acclaimed school for arts students.

Information: 860-486-8525 or

Writers At UConn Co-op

Poet, essayist and author David Leff will read from his novel in verse, "Finding the Last Hungry Heart" (Homebound, $17.95) on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 6 p.m. at The UConn Co-op, One Royce Circle, 101 Storrs Center, Storrs.

The verse novel was inspired by a round trip from Connecticut to California during the 1960s that Leff made when he was 16.

Also at The Co-op: Poetic Release: Poetry Slam with Chicago-based poet Nate Marshall on Monday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. and Krista Bremer, author of the memoir "My Accidental Jihad: A Love Story" (Algonquin, $24.95), about her marriage to a Muslim from Libya on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m.

Information: 860-486-8525 or

Mishi-maya-gat Spoken Word & Music Series

The free Mishi-maya-gat Spoken Word & Music Series begins a new season at MCC on Main, 903 Main Street, Manchester, on Thursday, Sept. 18. Patrons may bring wine or beer.

The New England Guitar Quartet, featuring classical guitarists Jeremy Milligan, Nick Cutroneo, Daniel Hartington and Christopher Ladd will open the program at 7 p.m.

At 8 p.m., poets Vivian Shipley And Patricia Mottola will read. Shipley, Connecticut State University Distinguished Professor and editor of Connecticut Review, has teaches Southern Connecticut State University and has published eight books of poetry and six chapbooks. She has won many awards for her work.

Mottola, who also has earned many awards, teaches writing at SCSU and has been published in journals including Literature & the Arts, Connecticut Review, Main Street Rag and Caduceus. She is editor of Connecticut River Review.

Information: or 860-512-2824.

A Tour In Verse

Poets Jane D'Arista, Sara Ingram and Patricia O'Brien will present a poetry reading titled Paintings and Poetry: A Tour In Verse on Sunday, Sept. 14, at 2 p.m. at Florence Griswold Museum, 96 Lyme St., Old Lyme. The event, offered with the Connecticut River Poets, will include poems inspired by the museum's current exhibit, "Thistles And Crowns: The Painted Chests Of The Connecticut Shore."

Information: 860-434-5542.

Landay In Newington

The Lucy Robbins Welles Library, 95 Cedar St., Newington, will conclude its community-wide reading project, Investigate One Book, with a free talk by author William Landay on Sunday, Sept. 14, at 2 p.m., Landay wrote the bestseller, "Defending Jacob" (Delacorte, $26, a mystery about a district attorney whose son is accused of killing a classmate. The event is part of a celebration of the library's 75th anniversary.

Information: 860-665-8700.

Lupica in Fairfield

Sportswriter, ESPN radio and TV personality and author Mike Lupica will appear at the downtown Fairfield University Bookstore, 1499 Post Road, Fairfield, on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. to launch his new novel for younger readers, "Fantasy League" (Philomel, $17.99). Lupica's many sports-themed books for middle school readers include "Heat," "Travel Team" and "Million-Dollar Throw."

On Thursday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m., John Valeri of Hartford Books Examiner will interview suspense authors Wendy Corsi Staub and Alison Gaylin at the bookstore.

Reservartions for both events: or 203-255-7756.

Manko At The Hickory Stick

The Hickory Stick Bookshop, 2 Green Hill Road, Washington Depot, will present a "Meet An Author For Lunch" program on Thursday, Sept. 18 from noon to 1:30 p.m. The author is Vanessa Manko, whose book, "The Invention of Exile" (Penguin Press, $26.95) is is based partly on the life of the author's grandfather, who emigrated from Russia to the United States, was later deported and battled to be able to return.

Admission is free with purchase of the book or $10 with no purchase.

Information: 860-868-0525 or

Philippa Gregory In Wilton

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., bestselling author Philippa Gregory will be at Wilton Library, 137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton, to give a free talk about her latest novel, "The King's Curse" (Touchstone, $28.99), part of her Cousins' War series about Henry VIII's rise to power through court insider Lady Margaret Pole.

Pre-registrants should arrive by 6:50 p.m. to be guaranteed seating; wait-listed and walk-in registrants will be admitted after 6:50 p.m. if space is available.

Information: 203-762-3950.

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