Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Authors, Books, & Writing Programs

Lecture/Seminar

French Fairytales

Monday, August 15, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Once upon a time, fairy tales were not the short, simple children’s stories we all know. Instead, they often carried subtle messages or warnings, or ridiculed powerful figures. These subversive stories were created in 17th-century Paris literary salons, safe forums for aristocrats—mostly women—to gather and share often coded tales. Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman explore these mostly forgotten tales and their deeper meanings.

Lecture/Seminar

Bridges of Light and Time: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Tuesday, August 23, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing inspired by art guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Join her and step into the colors, light, and forms of Claude Monet’s exquisite The Japanese Footbridge to explore the bridge as a metaphor for the thresholds and journeys of our lives.

Course

Art and Fiction: When Words and Art Commune

Thursday, September 8, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

In this summer series, discover a “novel” way to explore the arts. Independent art historian Heidi Applegate explores the artists—Leonardo da Vinci, Judith Leyster, and Camille Pissarro—and paintings that inspired three works of art-focused historical fiction. This session discusses Alice Hoffman's The Marriage of Opposites. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - 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, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Glen John’s A Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 - 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, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by January Steen’s The Dancing Couple.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 - 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, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Paul Cadmus’s Bar Italia.

Lecture/Seminar

Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: Enduring Lessons from Ancient Classics

Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Homer’s masterpieces the Iliad and Odyssey helped the ancient Greeks understand, through oral recitation, the tribulations of their world. Joseph Luzzi, a professor of comparative literature at Bard College, explores the idea that we can also use these epics to make sense of some of the greatest cultural, political, and social problems we face today.

Tour

The Rise of DC’s Black Intelligentsia: Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Dunbar-Nelson in LeDroit Park

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Northwest Washington’s LeDroit Park neighborhood became home to the city’s most prominent African American residents. Join author and literary historian Kim Roberts on a walking tour that visits the homes of Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African American to gain national eminence as a poet, and his wife, poet and activist Alice Dunbar-Nelson, as well those of other members of the city’s African American intelligentsia who were drawn to LeDroit Park and the surrounding Shaw neighborhood.

Lecture/Seminar

Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan: A Novel Duo

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. ET

In-Person and Online Program: New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is known for her compelling storytelling that thoughtfully tackles contemporary issues. For her latest novel, she teamed up with author Jennifer Finney Boylan to create the suspenseful Mad Honey. Join them as they discuss what it was like to work together and their inspiration behind the novel.

Tour

The Rise of DC’s Black Intelligentsia: Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Dunbar-Nelson in LeDroit Park

Sunday, October 16, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Northwest Washington’s LeDroit Park neighborhood became home to the city’s most prominent African American residents. Join author and literary historian Kim Roberts on a walking tour that visits the homes of Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African American to gain national eminence as a poet, and his wife, poet and activist Alice Dunbar-Nelson, as well those of other members of the city’s African American intelligentsia who were drawn to LeDroit Park and the surrounding Shaw neighborhood.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 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, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Scherezade García’s Day Dreaming/Soñando despierta.

Lecture/Seminar

Shakespeare and Company: The Bookshop That Shaped the Lost Generation

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

In 1919, an American woman named Sylvia Beach opened Shakespeare and Company, an English-language bookshop and lending library on the Left Bank of Paris. In the decades that followed, it became the heart of a community of writers and artists now known as the Lost Generation. Joshua Kotin, an associate professor of English at Princeton University, draws on a treasury of Beach’s personal and business records to create a vivid portrait of a period and place that changed literary history.

Course

Reading Faulkner: Chronicler of the Deep South in Literature

Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Mississippi-born William Faulkner stands as one of the greatest, and one of the most problematic, figures in American literature. Michael Gorra, professor of English language and literature at Smith College and author of The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War, focuses on three of Faulkner’s greatest novels to uncover the complexities behind the man and the writer.

Lecture/Seminar

The Stories Behind English Spelling: An Awesome Mess

Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

What’s behind the spelling of colonel? Or knight? Why is it four but also forty? Linguist Anne Curzan discusses why an examination of the ever-evolving language whose spelling has been described as “an awesome mess” reveals a treasure trove of wild and wonderful stories about its history and the people who have spoken it (and grappled with its quirks) across the centuries.

Tour

The Rise of DC’s Black Intelligentsia: Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Dunbar-Nelson in LeDroit Park

Saturday, October 22, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Northwest Washington’s LeDroit Park neighborhood became home to the city’s most prominent African American residents. Join author and literary historian Kim Roberts on a walking tour that visits the homes of Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African American to gain national eminence as a poet, and his wife, poet and activist Alice Dunbar-Nelson, as well those of other members of the city’s African American intelligentsia who were drawn to LeDroit Park and the surrounding Shaw neighborhood.

Program

Steve Case Drives Them To Succeed

Monday, October 24, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET

Entrepreneur Steve Case recognized that jobs and opportunity spurred by technology were concentrated in a select few coastal cities. In response, he launched Rise of the Rest, a nationwide platform to back and spotlight innovative startups outside of Silicon Valley. Join Case as he shares some of the success stories of these startup communities, all leveraging regional strengths and betting on the future of innovation beyond the country’s usual tech hubs.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 25, 2022 - 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, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Emma Amos’s Winning.

Lecture/Seminar

Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

In-Person and Online Program: French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, his seminal assessment of both the American experiment and the future of democracy after a visit to this country in 1831. Georgetown professor and political theorist Joseph Hartman considers the way in which Tocqueville thought through democracy and its problems and what Tocqueville means for us today.