Monday, February 4, 2013

Classes in Memoir, Fiction Start in March

March brings our much-awaited Wednesday evening writing classes to The Mark Twain House & Museum, with two offerings this year: acclaimed authors Susan Schoenberger on "The Art of Fiction" and Bessy Reyna on "The Art of Memoir." Schoenberger's class begins Wednesday, March 6; Reyna's on Wednesday, March 27.

Since 2010, the Writing at the Mark Twain House program at the museum has provided rich offerings that include classes, a spring Writers' Weekend and Saturday Afternoon Writers' Workshops. (This year the Writers' Weekend is April 26-28, and afternoon workshops are planned for May. Details will be announced soon.)

                Bessy Reyna

Our spring and fall multi-week classes have been especially rich, providing encouragement and peer support for a sometimes lonely endeavor. Almost without exception, participants have walked away from the sessions feeling revived, inspired and ready to move along on their projects -- or ready to get going on one. Beginners and seasoned authors mix in a particularly creative way.
...and one session of each class is traditionally held in Mark Twain's own library.

Spring's offerings feature two sterling authors with a knack for getting the word across not only about the creative process, and the craft of getting it down on paper or into pixels, but also about the business of getting work published.

Susan Schoenberger
Schoenberger's sessions have routinely sold out here, an accomplished novelist who brings a clear-eyed, generous and organized view to her teaching style. Reyna is an institution in the region -- poet, memoirist, winner of the 2009 Connecticut Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her sessions at the Hartford Public Library and elsewhere are immensely popular. When she brought her talents to our Writers' Weekend last year, her class ran into the lunch break on the patio, where the audience grew and grew.

A WARNING: These classes have a maximum enrollment of 16, and fill up fast. Early registration is recommended.


Susan Schoenberger, The Art of Fiction
Six weeks, Wednesdays, March 6-April 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m. 
$450. Registration Deadline Friday, February 22. Call 860-380-3130.
Susan Schoenberger's first novel, A Watershed Year, had not even been published when it was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal in the 2006 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. Amazon Publishing is re-releasing A Watershed Year and publishing She has been an editor at the Hartford Courant and the Baltimore Sun, a published essayist and short story writer, and a favorite of the Writing at the Mark Twain House faculty.The class will cover the main choices an author has to make when constructing a novel, including point of view, voice, character development, writing in scenes, structure and story arc. Participants will have opportunities to share works in progress for constructive feedback.

Bessy Reyna, The Art of Memoir 
Five weeks, Wednesdays, March 27-April 24. 5:30-8:30 p.m. 
$450. Registration Deadline Friday, March 8. Call 860-280-3130.

Each of us has a story we can choose to tell or not tell, and Bessy Reyna'sshort workshop "Tell Me a Secret: Writing Your Memoir" has been enthusiastically received statewide. It is being expanded for this special class. Reyna is the author of two bilingual books of poetry, The Battlefield of Your Body  and Memoirs of the Unfaithful Lover/ Memorias de la amante infiel, among many others. Bessy has been an opinion and magazine writer as well as a memoirist, and currently writes the arts and culture page for the newspaper Identidad Latina. She has won numerous awards, including the 2009 Connecticut Center for the Book Lifetime Achievement Award in Service to the Literary Community. 

Again, early registration is important; call 860-280-3130.  For questions, contact Writing at the Mark Twain House Director Julia Pistell at 860-247-0998, Ext. 208 ( , or Publications Editor Steve Courtney at Ext. 243 (