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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Authors, Books, & Writing Programs

Course
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson looks at three remarkable memoirs, as different in approach and style as the lives they led. In this session, discuss A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway which conjures a fabled youth in Paris of the 1920s.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on Character: Discover Dimensions.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

To call Cokie Roberts a legendary journalist merely scratches the surface of the life of this bestselling author and champion for women who was a fixture on national radio and television for 40 years. Steve Roberts, journalist, author, educator and Cokie’s husband of 53 years, in conversation with their daughter Rebecca Roberts, reflects on Cokie’s many accomplishments and how she lived each day with a devotion to helping others.

Course
Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson looks at three remarkable memoirs, as different in approach and style as the lives they led. In this session, discuss Conundrum by travel writer Jan Morris who gives a spellbinding account of her riskiest journey, becoming another physical version of herself.

Course
Sunday, November 7, 2021 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. ET

The notion that a picture is worth a thousand words is meant to convey the power of imagery. But what of the power of words—if they are Hemingway’s musings on a work of art, Van Gogh’s personal letters, or Michelangelo’s thoughts on his life and art expressed in his poetry? Explore the alchemy that occurs at the intersection of art and literature with David Gariff,  senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art.  This session focuses on The Poetry of Michelangelo. (World Art History Certificate elective: Earn ½ credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 8, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s political outlook is grounded in the experiences of growing up in Oklahoma. She shares those valuable life lessons with the next generation of leaders—especially young girls—in her newest book, Pinkie Promises. Join Warren as she shares the inspiration behind the book, the meaning of “pinkie promises,” and what girls can achieve, even when told they cannot.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on Setting: Explore Place and Time.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on Story: Imagine Possibilities.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The Old English epic poem Beowulf tells the rollicking tale of a fearless hero who defeats two monsters and a dragon. But does the story contain a kernel of historical truth? And what can it teach us about life in early England? Jennifer Paxton, a scholar of English and Irish history, explores how Beowulf provides a window into a society that struggled to balance the competitive forces that the warrior ethos often unleashed.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

At the center of the vibrant world of 15th-century Florence was a bookstore beside the Bargello run by Vespasiano da Bisticci—known as the “king of the world’s booksellers.” He created magnificent libraries and deluxe manuscripts for clients that included popes, kings, and three generations of Medici. Author Ross King paints a portrait of the intellectual, political, and religious ferment of this world through a bookseller’s eyes.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In the shadow of the Second World War and the looming threat of nuclear holocaust, British philosopher Bertrand Russell signaled an urgent need to recover the practice of philosophy in everyday life. Steven M. Emmanuel, dean of the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities at Virginia Wesleyan University, examines Russell’s writings on the practical value of philosophy to find important and timely lessons for today’s turbulent and uncertain times.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

In-person Program Option: Jodi Picoult draws inspiration from real-life events once again in her new novel, Wish You Were Here. Set in March 2020, it tells the story of what happens when best-laid plans go awry when the world turns upside down. Join Picoult as she discusses the timely book and her research and writing process.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Streaming Program Option: Jodi Picoult draws inspiration from real-life events once again in her new novel, Wish You Were Here. Set in March 2020, it tells the story of what happens when best-laid plans go awry when the world turns upside down. Join Picoult as she discusses the timely book and her research and writing process.

Course
Sunday, December 5, 2021 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. ET

The notion that a picture is worth a thousand words is meant to convey the power of imagery. But what of the power of words—if they are Hemingway’s musings on a work of art, Van Gogh’s personal letters, or Michelangelo’s thoughts on his life and art expressed in his poetry? Explore the alchemy that occurs at the intersection of art and literature with David Gariff,  senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art.  This session focuses on Ernest Hemingway, Joan Miró, and The Farm (1921-22). (World Art History Certificate elective: Earn ½ credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Experience new ways to contemplate the gifts of winter inspired by the vibrant Winter Landscape by Wassily Kandinsky, an artist who embraced the transcendent power of color.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Joseph Luzzi, a professor of comparative literature at Bard College, explores the fascinating world of Shakespeare through Maggie O’Farrell’s celebrated 2020 novel Hamnet. He considers the links between her fictional reconstruction of the life and tragic death of William Shakespeare’s young son and the playwright’s actual works.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 13, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Dylan Thomas is among the 20th century’s most romantic and tragic figures, famous not only for his lyrical, soul-stirring poetry, but also his turbulent, hard-drinking lifestyle. Join us as we “burn and rave at close of day” in a celebration of this incandescent spirit. Author Daniel Stashower explores Thomas’s life and legacy, and actor Scott Sedar offers dramatic readings of some of his most celebrated poems.

Course
Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can spark creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on character.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, January 8, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

How do we unlock the mysteries of a great poem? Discover the fascinating world of poetic form and gain a better understanding of the internal mechanisms and strategies that poets employ in their art.

Course
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can spark creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on setting.

Course
Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can spark creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on dialogue.

Course
Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can spark creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on story.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

There’s no writer quite like Charles Dickens. Author and humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson uses three of his beloved novels as the basis for the serious but playful look at Dickens you’ve always wanted—an exploration of the fabulous and fantastic creativity of a timeless author who could write English prose as if it were iambic pentameter poetry.

Course
Tuesday, February 1, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can spark creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on first person.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, February 16, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Willa Cather’s visits to Santa Fe in the 1920s with her partner, book editor Edith Lewis, inspired her to research and write the enduring novel she referred to as her best book. Author and historian Garrett Peck examines how the setting and spirit of Death Comes for the Archbishop is rooted in those travels and in their relationship.