Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mark Twain's passion lives on at his Hartford residence

Mark Twain's former home at 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford, Conn., is far more than a museum-like tribute to the famed author of "Huckleberry Finn," "Tom Sawyer" and a plethora of sharp-witted stories and essay.
The house is also dedicated to encouraging readers and writers to explore more of the literary field and, as such, it invites both those who scribe and those who read to visit for literary events.
MEMOIR: There's a memoir writing class there--an 8-week course that's in its third year. Participants meet Wednesdays, with the goal of exploring and writing memoir, and eventual publication on the Twain House website.
You'll have to register by Feb. 15 and cost is $600. It runs March 7 through April 25, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
To register, please send a brief letter or email of interest to Steve Courtney at or call 860-247-0998, Ext. 243.

DENNIS HORGAN: Also coming up soon is a visit by novelist and long-time Hartford Courant columnist Dennis Horgan--noted for a sharp wit right down Twain's alley. He'll speak on Feb. 8, at the unconventional hour of 5 p.m. (reading starts at 5:30). This is part of the Writing at the Mark Twain House events.
His newest book is Ninety-Eight Point Six ... and Other Stories, a series of stories relating to human identity, he says--how people are "defined by happenstance, by odd decisions and accumulations in their lives." He'll read from the book and discuss "Storytelling: Our New Golden Age." He's explored internet opportunities for writers, and likes the "razzle-dazzle" world he's found.
Sessions like these are always glad ones for writers and readers--who are often one and the same creature, in fact. It's free to attend--even the 5 p.m. reception. Horgan will sign books after his talk. He's clearly funny: "I was born in a Boston taxicab during a Thanksgiving snowstorm, which didn't quite make it to the hospital on time ... such a beginning is likely to shape how you look on the world."
His stories range from the tale of a grocery store manager who torments customers by moving items around, to the story of a woman who creates a new life for herself on Facebook. He's also written Sharks in the Bathtub and Flotsam: A Life in Debris, both essay collections, and the novel The Dawn of Days.
Check the web site for details.
THE PLAY'S THE THING: On Feb. 10 and 11, the short play A Love-Chase, written by Twain's daughter Susy and originally performed in the house in 1889 by the Twain children, will be presented. This is part of a Valentine's Day-themed event that includes a concert by Israeli guitarist Shay Bachar, and a champagne and chocolate reception. Performances are at 7 and 8:30 p.m. both days, and tickets are $28 to non-members. Space is limited, so make reservations soon at 860-280-3130.