Thursday, January 12, 2012

Denis Horgan Speaks Here February 8

For many years, Denis Horgan has delighted Connecticut readers with his mixture of gentle musings, subtle but rapier-like wit, and occasional rage against the insanities of our world. For more than two decades he did this in the pages of the Hartford Courant, providing a place you could quickly turn to for a bi-weekly fix of insight. For the past nine years this work has been online (, and in recent times he's turned his hand to fiction.

On Wednesday, February 8, at 5:30 p.m., Horgan brings his compelling skill in relaying information to the stage at The Mark Twain House & Museum.

It's an appropriate place. Horgan combines the laidback, self-effacing qualities of Sam Clemens' neighbor, journalist and essayist Charles Dudley Warner, with the fire that led Twain himself to warm up his pen in hell.

Horgan's latest book is Ninety-Eight Point Six ...and Other Stories (Ladder Press), a collection of tales that relate to the story of human identity -- how people are "defined by happenstance, by odd decisions and accumulations in their lives." He will read from the book and speak on the subject "Storytelling: Our New Golden Age."

"Yes, I will read from the book as well as discuss writing," says Horgan: "both my own richly varied experiences and the opportunities now open to everyone that simply didn't exist a few years ago. As traditional publishing lumbers along in some Dickensian business model, the world of the Web and its razzle-dazzle gear has created a golden age for storytellers."

The event is free, and will be preceded by a reception at 5:00 p.m. A booksigning will follow the talk.

Ninety-Eight Point Six includes 13 brief, O. Henry-esque tales of human beings finding out, in odd ways, who they are -- or wondering if they'll ever know. The driver of a junker loaner car finds people treat him with a new respect, if not fear. A man meets his identity thief. A woman sets up a new life for herself on Facebook.

Says Blogger Emily Rosenbaum: "By far, my favorite story was 'The English Aisles,' the story of a grocery store manager who torments his customers by moving items all around the store. I kept trying to read lines aloud to my husband, but I was laughing too hard to do so. If I were organizing a grocery store, that's exactly how I'd do it."

Denis Horgan says he was "born in a Boston taxicab during a Thanksgiving snowstorm which didn't quite make it to the hospital on time. Whether auspicious or merely suspicious, such a beginning is likely to shape how you look on the world."

After college and the Army, he started as a copyboy at the Boston Globe, and worked as reporter, editor, columnist for publications including the Bangkok World, the Washington Star and the Courant. He is the author of the essay collections Sharks in the Bathtub and Flotsam: A Life in Debris and the novel The Dawn of Days. He has won many awards and honors for his work, and says his "principal vice is an addiction to the Boston Red Sox."

Horgan's appearance launches a spring series of events in the Writing at the Mark Twain House program. These include a novel-writing workshop by Susan Schoenberger on March 2, our popular eight-week memoir class taught by Lary Bloom and Suzanne Levine starting March 7, and a Writer's Weekend keynoted by famed Harper's editor emeritus Lewis Lapham on April 20-21. (For details on these, see

No comments:

Post a Comment