Friday, March 14, 2014

Writers' Weekend at the Mark Twain House

Looking for a detailed schedule? We'll be releasing the full schedule next week. To make sure you don't miss it, follow this blog and you'll get an email notification as soon as we post it.

In the meantime, please enjoy our announcement (below) and feel free to contact us at

3rd Annual Writers' Weekend!
Friday, April 25, through April 27, 2014
Join us for year three of a paradise for writers!
This can't-miss-it event is the best small writers' conference in Connecticut. Our first and second years were smash successes, and we can't wait to offer even more writers, workshops, genres, and opportunities for everyone.
From Keynote Speaker Meg Wolitzer, author of the current bestseller The Interestings, all the way through a Literary Death Match that will pit Director of Writing Julia Pistell against the most fun, famous and talented writers you know, this weekend will be a thrilling and inspiring exploration of literary creativity and craft.
In the shadow of Mark Twain’s breathtaking home, writers of all levels of experience are invited to spend a weekend writing, learning, exchanging ideas, and getting books signed by the authors you’ve been dying to meet. The roster includes: a panel on Criticism with former Granta Editor-in-Chief John Freeman; workshops and discussions on aspects of the writing craft including jump-starting a novel, poetry as memoir, researching for nonfiction essays, and much more; lectures on aspects of publishing including finding an agent, pitching to publicity outlets, and editing for publication; and an all-day marathon of authors selling and signing books.
Sunday morning will feature an expo and book signing of the members of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. Writers range from recurring favorites Bessy Reyna, Susan Campbell, and Mary Sharnick to first-time presenters Matthew Dicks, Vivian Shipley, and Qais Akbar Omar. Also presenting will be Tim Parrish, Susan Schoenberger, Wayne English, TJ Jarrett, John Casey, Mike Morin, Patricia Chaffee, Steve Courtney, Leslie Johnson, John Stanizzi—and more, because we’re adding others every day.
The cost of the weekend is $150 for early birds (price will go up to $160 on April 1st). Costs include an opening and closing reception, coffee, and a small lunch on Saturday. The weekend will kick off at 6:00 pm with a reception preceding Meg Wolitzer’s Keynote Conversation at 7 pm and continue with programs from 9 am – 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday before concluding with a Literary Death Match on Sunday afternoon.
Tickets are $150 FOR EARLY BIRDS and on sale now (will go up to $160 in April!):
Online tickets available at Or Call The Mark Twain House & Museum at (860) 280-3130.
$150 until April 1st; $160 thereafter. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Playwriting, Writing for Young Adults, & Writing in Twain's Library: Spring Workshops at the Mark Twain House & Museum

Playwriting: A Workshop with Sarah Moon
Saturday, March 22, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
In this workshop, we'll dive into dramatic writing with a handful of fresh writing exercises and short readings from the world's great dramatists. We'll discuss writing habits, keys to great dialogue, vivid characters and effective revision. We'll also cover some of the practical aspects of playwriting like submitting to contests and producing your own work. Why write drama? As Oscar Wilde said, "I regard theatre as...the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." Come share!
Sarah Moon's plays have been produced and workshopped in Washington D.C., Indianapolis, Boston and New York City. Her play with music,Tauris, an adaptation of Euripides' Iphegenia at Tauris, premiered in the 2013 Planet Connections Festivity in NYC, receiving the Planet Connections Award for Best Book of a New Musical or Play with Music. Other recent New York credits include End of the Dog Days in the 2013 Summer Play Festival at the Players Theatre and Turtles in the April edition of Fresh Produce'd at the Drama Bookshop. In 2004, she received an MFA in Playwriting from Brandeis University where her play Losing the Game won the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Award for Best Original Play. Sarah is currently working toward her PhD in English Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Connecticut.
Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.
Writing in Mark Twain's Library
Sunday, March 23, 9:00 am to 11:30 am
"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph." – Mark Twain
Sometimes, what we need to write our great novel, or even just a good page, is just a little peace and quiet. Throw in some inspiration from Hartford’s favorite author and we’d call that a successful morning. That’s why we’re introducing a new series called “Writing in Mark Twain's Library.” Sign up for a Sunday morning writing session in the Clemens family home: you and a maximum of fifteen other people will have the house to yourselves. Feel inspired by the beautiful sounds of the fountain in the family conservatory; rest your eyes upon Twain’s bookshelves as you ponder your next word. You’ll spend three hours of quiet in the historic library of our very own Sam Clemens. No doubt you'll begin your own masterpiece.
$50 for two and a half quiet hours in Twain's library. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. (860) 280-3130, or click here for tickets.
Writing from the First Person for Young Adults: A Writing Workshop with Dayna Lorentz
Saturday, April 12, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
I dance, I scream, I cry: Writing in the First-Person Present for Young Adults
Lift the cover of any Young Adult novel lining the shelves of your local bookseller or library, and you’ll likely find that it’s told from the first person point of view, and in the present tense. Bestsellers The Hunger Games, Thirteen Reasons Why, Divergent, and Speak: all first-person, present tense narratives. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the appeal of this point of view for writing YA in particular, and also the kinds of problems it presents and limitations it entails. We’ll look at popular examples of the form, and also write and workshop short pieces of our own.
Dayna Lorentz is the author of the No Safety in Numbers trilogy (Dial/Kathy Dawson Books). The first book in the series, No Safety in Numbers, was selected by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) as a 2013 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and the second, No Easy Way Out, was a Barnes&Noble Bookseller’s Pick for Teens. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Bennington College. A former attorney, Dayna is now a full-time writer and lives with her husband, two kids, and dogs in Vermont. If you ask nicely, she will show you the proper way to eat a cupcake. Visit her at and
$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.

Announcing Spring Classes!

Good Tales and How to Tell Them: A Storytelling Writing Course with Tom Lee
Wednesday, March 19, through April 23, 2014, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Six Wednesday evenings, March 19th - April 23
The Mark Twain House's Storyteller-in-Residence, Tom Lee will lead a class exploring the nature of traditional stories - sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands of years old.
We will look at stories from a variety of world traditions and discover how telling stories opens up a dialogue with the teller and the listener.
Tom Lee has told stories professionally for twenty years. His interest in traditional stories began while he was working as a cook in a tiny fishing village in Scotland. Tom's first storytelling performances were tales from Grimm, told in the the London pub theater called, appropriately, "The Man in the Moon." In the United States, Tom has worked in classrooms with children of all ages. "When it comes to stories," he says, "children have taught me everything I know." A roster artist with the Connecticut Commission on Culture and a frequent guest artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Yale Center for British Art. Tom is a fellow with the Connecticut Writing Project at the University of Connecticut. Tom Lee lives in Chester, Connecticut, where he gardens overambitiously. This class is appropriate for anyone interested in telling a good story. Educators, writers, and artists may find it particularly useful in developing their crafts.
$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.
Memoir Writing Course with Mary-Ann Tirone Smith
Wednesday, March 19, through April 23, 2014; 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Six Wednesday evenings.
With pen or keys, we will revisit episodes in our lives that will not let us go, and we will think on those episodes wearing the analytical hat of the mathematician. We will write and re-write those episodes until we find the key to unlock what we are trying to understand, to grasp, to make sense of. We will not depend on the serenity of “once upon a time,” but instead learn to create the sense that what happened to us then is happening to us now, without the security of probable escape, no promise that everything will turn out just dandy. We will learn what is required to put our memories into an irresistible, provocative and coherent story, for that is what a good memoir is (as opposed to an autobiography and we’ll see the difference). Thankfully, we will be helped along by examining excellent memoirs already published.
Mary-Ann Tirone Smith was born and raised in Hartford, and has lived in Connecticut all her life except for the two years she served as a Peace Corps volunteer on Mt. Cameroon, an active volcano rising 14,000 feet above the West African equatorial sea. She has published eight novels, and collaborated on a ninth with her son, Jere Smith. Her memoir, Girls of Tender Age, was selected as a community read by several cities and towns, and is an ongoing favorite of book discussion groups. Her work has been reprinted in seven foreign languages, and in paperback, audio and ebook editions. Her short stories and essays have been included in several collections. She was awarded the Diana Bennet Writing Fellowship at the Black Mountain Institute, UNLV, where she worked on a Civil War novel just completed: The Honoured Guest: Anne Alger Craven, Witness to Sumter, in Her Words.
$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.
Fiction Writing Course with Nancy Antle
Wednesday, March 19, through April 23rd, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Six Wednesday evenings, March 19th - April 23
Study the fine art of writing fiction under the experience and tutelage of Nancy Antle.
Nancy Antle has been writing and teaching for over thirty years. She is a 2013 MFA in fiction graduate from Southern CT State University and is currently a writing mentor/volunteer with the Afghan Women’s Writing Project online which “provides a platform for Afghan women to develop their voices and discover their power in the world.” She has taught beginning fiction writing at Southern CT State University, novel writing for Bulldog Tutors in New Haven and children’s book writing for both Gotham Writer’s Workshop and the Institute of Children’s Literature. She has published short stories, books and poems for adults, young adults and children. She lives with her husband in New Haven.
$265. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.