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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Authors, Books, & Writing Programs

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
Monday, February 14, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Nearly 50 years have passed since the publication of her final book, but Dame Agatha Christie remains the best-selling novelist of all time. Author Daniel Stashower explores Agatha Christie’s life and career while actors Scott Sedar and Bari Bern give voice to her most beloved characters. It would be a crime to miss it.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, February 15, 2022 - 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 popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Inspired by paintings of the visionary Belorussian-born French artist Marc Chagall and by poetry across time, look outward at paintings and poetry and look inward through writing.

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.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

It's easy to think of fairy tales as something distinctly European or antiquated. But folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman discuss the fairy-tale traditions and stories that can be found around the United States, including the Jack Tales of Appalachia, Black folk and fairy tales from the South, and the rise of the Disney fairy-tale empire.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Mark Twain's 1884 masterpiece The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been widely regarded as America's greatest novel. But its frequent use of a vile racial epithet has made it toxic as assigned reading material at any level of the American educational system. Hear the arguments surrounding the fate of a work of literature—and what is lost if it disappears. 

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, March 14, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

What is it about Jane Austen that has made her one of the most instantly recognizable names in all of literature? Joseph Luzzi, professor of comparative literature at Bard College, explores Austen’s remarkable career and her novels’ astonishing staying power over the centuries.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, March 16, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Opera and classical music scholar Saul Lilienstein explores sublime examples of the great synthesis of the arts, from the Schubert songs inspired by Goethe’s poetry; to Igor Stravinsky, finding a modern voice within Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex; and more.

Course
Sunday, March 27, 2022 - 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET

In this spring series, David Gariff, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, examines how artists can find power in both words and images. This session looks at how Giorgio Vasari captured the lives of fellow creators in a seminal work of art history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Sunday, April 24, 2022 - 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET

In this spring series, David Gariff, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, examines how artists can find power in both words and images. This session looks at the influence of Shakespeare and Dante on the sculpture of Rodin. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Sunday, May 22, 2022 - 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET

In this spring series, David Gariff, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, examines how artists can find power in both words and images. This session looks at the revealing friendship of Édouard Manet and Emile Zola. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)