The Riverwood Poetry Series will launch a four-day Connecticut Poetry Festival, featuring six events at five places in Hartford, from Thursday, Nov. 13 to Nov. 16. It's all free, but donations will be accepted, and a $10 donation is suggested for the "High-Performance Poetry" event on Saturday, Nov. 15.
On Thursday, Nov. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m., Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Ave., Hartford, will host "Signed and Spoken Word," a bi-lingual English/sign-language reading by high school students from the American School for the Deaf and Hartford Academy of the Arts.
On Friday, Nov. 14, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Wadsworth Atheneum, 600 Main St., Hartford, the program is "New England Poets Laureate," featuring Dick Allen of Connecticut, Alice Fogel of New Hampshire, Sydney Lea of Vermont and Wesley McNair of Maine.
On Saturday, Nov. 15, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Mark Twain House and Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford, a "Write Away" program of poetry-writing workshops will be led by poets Yvon Cormier, Donna Marie Merritt, Lisa C. Taylor and Elizabeth Thomas.
Also on Saturday, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Twain House & Museum, "High-Performance Poetry" will present award-winning poet Patricia Smith, known for her poetry, playwriting, fiction and performances, and Connecticut's slam poetry star, Elizabeth Thomas.
On Sunday, Nov. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St., Hartford, former State Poet Laureate Marilyn Nelson will present a reading and workshop called "Lyric Histories."
Also on Nov. 16, from 5 to 9 p.m., at City Steam Brewery Cafe, 942 Main St., Hartford, "The Last Hurrah" will offer a reading by poet Michael Czarnecki and an open mike session.
Donations of non-expired, non-perishable food will be accepted for the AHCC Crisis Food Support Program. Information: riverwoodpoetry.org.
Jewish Book Festival
A rabbi who is a bestselling author and scholar will give the opening program of the Mandell Jewish Community Center's 22nd Annual Jewish Book Festival on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. at Center, 335 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin will discuss "Rebbe," his best-selling biography of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the charismatic leader who made the orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement a success. Telushkin also is the author of "Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know Aboutthe Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History."
WordForge Reading Series
Poets Joan Hofmann and Sue Ellen Thompson will read at a free WordForge Reading Series program on Monday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m., followed by an open mike at The Studio @ Billings Forge, 563 Broad St., Hartford.
Hofmann, a professor of education at the University of Saint Joseph, has been widely published in literary journals and her poems have been anthologized in "Where Flowers Bloom." Her first chapbook is "Coming Back" (Antrim House, $13).
Thompson, who has taught at Wesleyan Univesity and other schools, is the author of five poetry collections and editor of "The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry." Her work has appeared in the Best American Poetry series and U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's nationally syndicated column.
Information: 860-508-2810 or wfreadings.blogspot.com/.
Harding At Russell House
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Paul Harding will give a free talk at Wesleyan University's Russell House Series, held at 350 High St., Middletown, on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m.
Harding has published two novels, "Enon" and his debut "Tinkers," which won the 2010 Pulitzer for Fiction. It is the story of three generations of a Maine family.
Information: 860-685-3448 or wesleyan.edu/writing
The Beat: Spoken Word
Charter Oak Cultural Center, 21 Charter Oak Ave., Hartford, will present a reading of short stories and poems on Tuesday, Nov. 11, from 7 to 9 p.m., by local authors who are published in the Beat of the Street monthly newspaper, which is written, edited and distributed by homeless members of the Beat of the Street program at the center. Ralph Gagliardo, also known as RJ Wordsmyth, will be the host. Admission is $5.
Information: charteroakcenter.org or 860-310-2580.
Authors At R.J. Julia
Authors, including a famous TV actor, cookbook editors and an acclaimed writer and illustrator of children's books, will appear at events presented by R.J. Julia Booksellers, at the bookstore, 768 Boston Post Rd., Madison, or as noted, at other Madison sites. All require reservations: 203-245-3959.
On Sunday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. at the bookstore, Anson Williams, known as Potsie on the "Happy Days" TV sitcom, will discuss his inspirational memoir, "Singing to a Bulldog: From Happy Days to Hollywood Director, and the Unlikely Mentor Who Got Me There (Reader's Digest Association, $14.99). Admission is a copy purchased there. Williams later became an award-winning TV director and writer, a singer and a producer.
Also on Sunday, Nov. 9, at 3 p.m., a workshop in crafting and publishing a memoir will be led by Sarah Jane Freymann, a New York City literary agent, whose debut book is "Your Life Is a Book" (Sasquatch, $18.95). The cost is $50
On Monday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m., Rebecca Frankel will give a free talk on her nonfiction book, "War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love" (Palgrave Macmillan Trade, $26). The book is based on interviews with military handlers who worked with dogs in wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan. Frankel, a Connecticut native, is senior editor, special projects, for Foreign Policy magazine and has contributed to The Atlantic, National Geographic and other publications.
On Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m., Karen Page, who produces acclaimed cookbooks with her husband, Andrew Dornenburg, will discuss "The Vegetarian Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity with Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and More, Based on the Wisdom of Leading American Chefs" (Little, Brown and Co., $40). The book contains creative recipes from vegetarian and vegan chefs who run acclaimed restaurants.
On Friday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. at Madison Beach Hotel, 94 W. Wharf Road, Madison, another famous cookbook writer will speak. Dorie Greenspan will discuss her latest, "Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere" (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40), dessert recipes from French home cooks and chefs. Admission is $10, of which $5 can be applied to the purchase of her book; $45 for a ticket and the book. Signed copies are $40.
Also on Friday, Nov. 14, at 5:30 p.m., two-time Caldecott Medal winner Chris Van Allsburg, who created the children's classics "Jumanji" and "The Polar Express," will speak at Scranton Memorial Library, 801 Boston Post Road., Madison. His latest is "The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie" (HMH Books for Young Readers, $18.99), about a pet store hamster that yearns to run free. For full rules on the signing, and for reservations for all events, call 203-245-3959 or rjjulia.com.
"Changing America" Talk
The free Changing America series of exhibits, programs and films about landmark Civil Rights events in American history from 1863 to 1963 continues at Avon Public Library, 281 Country Club Road, Avon, through Dec. 13.
On Monday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m., there will be a talk on the book, "African American Connecticut Explored," edited by Elizabeth J. Normen, with Stacey K. Close, Katherine J. Harris and Wm. Frank Mitchell (Wesleyan University Press, $40). Normen and Close will speak.
Information: 860-673-9712 ext.4 or avonctlibrary.info.
Alyssa Shelasky, author of "Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs In and Out of the Kitchen" (Three Rivers Press, $14), will give the first Women's Network talk at Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Ave., West Hartford, on Monday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m. Her novel is part memoir, part cookbook and all about becoming a woman. The event is open to all. Tickets are $18 and include a reception featuring Alyssa's recipes.
Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-233-9696.
Hood At Hickory Stick
Ann Hood will discuss her new book, "An Italian Wife" (W.W. Norton & Co. $25.95) at a Meet An Author For Lunch program at The Hickory Stick Bookshop, 2 Green Hill Road, Washington Depot, on Wednesday, Nov. 12 from noon to 1:30 p.m.
The book is a collection of linked stories about more than seven decades in the life of Josephine Rimaldi, forced into an arranged marriage in Italy to a man she doesn't know, who later immigrates to Rhode Island and bears eight children. Admission to the catered lunch and discussion is the purchase of a copy at the bookstore.
Information and reservations: 860-86-0525 or hickorystickbookshop.com.
"Prudence Crandall's Legacy"
Donald E. Williams, Jr., president pro tempore of the Connecticut State Senate and author of "Prudence Crandall's Legacy: The Fight for Equality in the 1830s, Dred Scott, and Brown v. Board of Education" (Wesleyan University Press, $35), will give a free talk sponsored by the Middlesex County Historical Society at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 13, at Congregation Adath Israel, 8 Broad St., Middletown. Kazimiera Kozlowski, curator of the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury, also will speak.
Crandall was the 19th century Canterbury teacher and early proponent of civil rights who integrated her school for girls, was jailed for her efforts and became a national figure in the fight against slavery. Her school, a National Historic Landmark, now houses the Crandall Museum.
Events At Mark Twain House
A book launch and author talks about Thomas Edison and murder in Hollywood will take place at The Mark Twain House & Museum Center, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford.
On Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m., WFBS TV news anchor Kara Sundlun will launch her memoir, "Finding Dad: From 'Love Child' To Daughter" (Behler Publications, $15.95) at a free Book/Mark event. Her book is the true story of how she forged a bond with her father, Rhode Island Gov. Bruce Sundlun, after a paternity suit against the man she knew about but had never met.
On Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m., David Edward Edison Sloane, professor of English at the University of New Haven, will give a free "The Trouble Begins at 5:30" series talk, "Reflections on Mark Twain and Thomas Edison as American Cultural Icons," at the Museum Center. Sloane is the great-grandson of inventor Thomas Alva Edison and an expert on Twain and American humor who has written several books about Twain and his work. Sloane sometimes adds a banjo performance to his talks.
On Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Museum Center, New York Times bestselling author and Connecticut native William J. Mann discussing his book "Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood" (Harper, $27.99) at a free Book/Mark event. The book is a true account of a scandal, a murder and the development of the movie industry in Hollywood. Mann also is the author of "Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn" and biographies of Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Streisand, as well as novels.
Information and reservations: 860-280-3130 or marktwainhouse.org.
Hartford Then And Now
Hartford native and award-winning urban designer Doug Suisman will give a free talk titled "A Tale of Two Cities: Hartford (1965) and Hartford (2015)," covering more than 50 years of urban renewal, suburbanization, disinvestment and social unrest in Connecticut's capital city, on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 5:30 p.m. at the Hartford History Center at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St., Hartford. Copies of the 25th anniversary edition of his book, "Los Angeles Boulevard: Eight X-Rays of the Body Public," will be available for purchase.
Memoir Of A Racist Past
Tim Parrish, an author who teaches in the MFA and undergraduate creative-writing programs at SCSU, will read from his memoir, "Fear and What Follows: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist" (University Press of Mississippi, $25) on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at SCSU's Lyman Center, 501 Crescent St., New Haven.
The book is a frank account of Parrish's participation in racist violence as resistance to desegregation persisted in 1960s and 1970s in Baton Rouge, La.
Parrish also is the author of the story collection, 'Red Stick Men' and the novel, "The Jumper," and his work appears in several anthologies.
Information: 203-392-6154 or calendar.southernct.edu.
Karen Guzman, a former Courant reporter, has published her debut novel. "Homing Instincts" (Fiction Attic Press, $17.99), is a story set in Connecticut about a UConn graduate and wildlife biologist devastated by the loss of his girlfriend and the death of his father.
Guzman will give a free talk about the book on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m. at Breakwater Books, 81 Whitfield St. Guilford.
Information: 203-453-4141 or karenguzman.com.
Edgar Allan Poe Live
Actor Campbell Harmon will bring Edgar Allan Poe to life with a free historic re-enactment and readings from the famous writer's work at Hagaman Memorial Library, 227 Main St., East Haven, on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m.
Besides writing such classic poems as "The Raven," Poe is credited with writing the first modern detective and science fiction stories and founding the modern horror genre.
Harmon, a graduate of Yale Divinity School who lives in Wallingford, has been performing as Edgar Allan Poe since 2009.
Reservations: 203-468-3890, or email@example.com.
Webster Library Events
A free Authors Live! reading and discussion at Noah Webster Library, 20 S. Main St., West Hartford, on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m., will present Leslie Jamison, author of "The Empathy Exams: Essays" (Graywolf, $15) and a contributor to the New York Times Book Review and Gary Greenberg, a Connecticut psychiatrist, award-winning magazine writer and author of "The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry" (Blue Rider, $28.95). They will talk about how pain provides a way to understand ourselves and others and offer a critique of the mental health industry.
On Thursday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m., at the library, Courtney Maum will discuss her debut novel, "I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You" (Touchstone, $25.99), about an American artist in Paris who is trying to fall back in love with his wife.
Registration: 860-561-6990 or westhartfordlibrary.org.
Mystery Book Discussions
Carole Shmurak, of Farmington, who writes the Susan Lombardi mystery novels, will lead a free City of Angels series book discussion of of "L.A. Requiem" by Robert Crais at Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, on Monday, Nov. 10, at noon. Information: 860-658-7663.
On Thursday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m., Shmurak will lead The Grand Tour, Part 3, a discussion of "Outsider in Amsterdam" by Janwillem van de Wetering, at Southington Public Library, 255 Main St., Southington. Information: 860-628-0947.
The Fall 2014 season of free Central Authors book talks continues at Central Connecticut State University in the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in the CCSU Student Center, 105 Ella Grasso Blvd., New Britain. The authors are CCSU faculty, staff, and alumni.
On Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 12:15 p.m., Daniel Mulcahy, of the Teacher Education department, will discuss his book, "Education in North America" (Bloomsbury Academic, $170).