Tuesday, September 25, 2012

News from the Mark Twain House

Novel Workshop, Special Guests and More Planned in October

Susan Schoenberger
Novelist Susan Schoenberger's afternoon workshop last spring on finding that 'big idea' for your novel, and making it marketable, filled up quickly -- so quickly that we had to schedule a second session, which filled up just as quickly.
There's a demand out there, so this fall we're running the workshop again.
"Turning Your Great Idea Into a Marketable Manuscript," a Saturday Afternoon Writing Workshop with Susan Schoenberger. will be held Saturday, October 13, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Acclaimed novelist Schoenberger (A Watershed Year) will lead a special three-hour workshop with a small group. Included in the workshop will be exercises in "free-writing" and discussion of practicalities.
Schoenberger says she will provide "advice about listening to your gut on the best place to start...I want to focus on getting the importance of the first pages and help participants get over the hump of getting started."
The second part of the session will focus on the challenge of crafting an idea weighty enough to sustain a full-length novel. The afternoon will not be a one-way experience: There will be opportunities for participants to share their ideas and workshop with Schoenberger and each other.
Fee for the session is $40. Enrollment is limited to 18. Call 860-280-3130 early to reserve a spot.
Susan Schoenberger's first novel had not even been published when it was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal in the 2006 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
A Watershed Year, published by Guideposts last year to critical acclaim, treats issues of friendship lost through death -- yet not lost; and the heartbreak and redemption that arise from a woman's quest to adopt a four-year-old boy in Russia.
Schoenberger, a longtime editor at the Hartford Courant and the Baltimore Sun, as well as a published essayist and short story writer, writes "with subtle humor and grace," in the words of bestselling author Julia Fay (Shelter Me). Patti Callahan Henry (Driftwood Summer) writes: "Susan Schoenberger takes us to the softer places of the heart where love -- in all its forms and glory -- transforms grief into grace."
Schoenberger recently announced a two-book deal with Amazon Publishing: Amazon will re-release A Watershed Year under its imprint and also bought her forthcoming novel -- an amazing achievement for a first-time novelist.
Writing at The Mark Twain House is a three-year-old program that offers intensive instruction in writing at the home of one of America's greatest authors.
This fall it offers two more Saturday afternoon writing workshops: award-winning memoirist Susan Campbell on "The Life You Really Lived: Memoir-Writing, Personal Essays, and the Stuff That Holds the World Together" (October 20); and a second Susan Schoenberger session on "Strategies for Finding a Literary Agent" ( November 3)/
It also offers six-week classes with Susan Campbell on non-fiction and Mary-Ann Tirone Smith on fiction from November 7 to December 19. (registration deadline October 22). For information, go to www.marktwainhouse.org. Or you may contact Writing Program Director Julia Pistell (julia.pistell@marktwainhouse.org) or Steve Courtney (steve.courtney@marktwainhouse.org.),

In addition, author Stephen Dau (The Book of Jonas) presents "The Creative Writing Process: The Art and the Business of Writing for Publication" in a Writing at the Mark Twain House Saturday Afternoon Writing Workshop on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 1 to 4 pm.
On Friday, Sept. 28  from 5:30 to 9:30 pm  the fifth annual "Tapping Into Twain" Oktoberfest offers a selection of locally produced beer, artisan ales and food from local restaurants -- including pizza, pasta, jambalaya, sliders and pulled pork. Music provided by Daniel Heath-Ringrose and DJ Jeffrey Willard Mainville III. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door ($40 for Mark Twain House & Museum members). A designated driver ticket is $20. All tickets include beer, food and the coveted, complimentary Tapping Into Twain pint glass. Last year sold out, so call 860-280-3130 or go to www.tappingintotwain.brownpapertickets.com as soon as possible.

Joseph Roswell Hawley was editor and part owner of the Hartford Courant, lawyer, antislavery crusader, founder of the Connecticut Republican Party, Civil War general -- and governor, Congressman and Senator. He was also Mark Twain' neighbor and friend. Twain stumped for Hawley during his campaigns, but later fell out with him over a contoversial Presidential election.
But Hawley the man was an extraordinary character, from his role in the battlefields of Florida and Reconstruction South Carolina to the battles he fought in the Senate to guarantee the Chinese the right to immigrate to the United States. His wife, Harriet Foote Hawley, was a Civil War hero as well as she worked in hospitals during the war and taught former slaves afterward.
Superior Court judge and historian the Hon. Henry S. Cohn is a local expert on Hawley's varied career. On Wednesday, Oct. 3, Cohn will speak on Hawley and his friendship with Twain in the continuing Election Year Edition of "The Trouble Begins at 5:30," the Mark Twain House & Museum's free, after-work series of lectures and discussions on Twainian subjects. Cohn has made an extensive study of Hawley, his life and his times, and brings a fresh view to the two men's fascinating relationship.
"Mark Twain and Joseph R. Hawley, Senator, Governor and Republican Leader of the Gilded Age" is a free event. While the lectures begin at 5:30. audiences like to gather for the reception beforehand at 5:00, which includes hors d'oeuvres, wine and coffee.

More News:
In a special event presented in conjunction with the Hartford Medical Society, geared toward the medical community and everyone else interested in health and wisdom, The Mark Twain House & Museum will welcome the foremost authority on Twain's medical interests, K. Patrick Ober, M.D., on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Dr, Ober's topic will be "What Mark Twain Would Tell Us About Medicine (If He Were With Us Today)." He will also share some of his current research, which bears directly on the Mark Twain House and how an odd Victorian theory about health and drains may have sparked an 1881 rebuilding project at the house.
The talk is free, and will be held at 5:30 pm after a 5 pm reception.
Nook Farm Book Club, the popular collaboration between The Mark Twain House & Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, continues Thursday, Oct. 4 with a discussion of Tom Perrotta's novel "Election."
The book, set in a New Jersey high school during a student election, conveys adolescence as it often is--sometimes painful and frequently awkward. This is a novel of teenagers on the brink of adulthood, and is probably best appreciated by grownups with enough perspective on their own adolescent experiences to be able to take the bitter with the sweet.
The discussion will be held at The Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave. Hartford Thursday, Oct. 4. The event is free. A 5pm reception will be followed by the 5:30 discussion and book signing with the author. Registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.
Reports of ghostly apparitions, mysterious bangs, cigar smoke and other unexplained phenomena, featured on Syfy's Ghost Hunters, have led us to reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours in October.

Tours are on Friday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 6; Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13; Thursday, Oct. 18, Friday, Oct. 19, Saturday, Oct. 20; Thursday, Oct. 25, Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27.
Tour times are limited: 6 , 7, 8 and 9 pm. Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours are by reservation only, and sell out quickly. Call early: 860-280-3130.
Tickets are $20 for adults 17 and up; $16 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum and an unlucky $13 for children 16 and under. Tours are not recommended for children under 10. 

The Museum celebrates the release of "Sailor Twain," by Mark Siegel on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 7 to 8:30 pm. The event is free and will be followed by a book signing.


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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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