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Authors, Books, & Writing Programs

Literary London: In the Footsteps of its Writers

London is a writer's city where poets, playwrights, and novelists have long found welcome and inspiration. A British social historian and an emeritus professor of English delve into the literary contributions and the distinctive London worlds of writers from Lord Byron to Virginia Woolf.

Date of event
Saturday, January 25, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Imagining the Southwest

The American Southwest occupies a central place in the country’s literary imagination. Join Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz, a lecturer in the English department at Georgetown University, in spirited lectures and informal discussions about four compelling novels that offer rich and varied portraits of the region and the people who inhabit it. This session discusses All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy.

Date of event
Monday, January 27, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Toni Morrison: A Portrait

Spend a day exploring the life and works of Nobel laureate, writer, and educator Toni Morrison with Michele L. Simms-Burton, founding board member of the Toni Morrison Society. She traces the creative and personal arc that spans Morrison’s formative years at Howard University to her status as an internationally acclaimed literary figure.

Date of event
Sunday, February 9, 2020 - 11:00 a.m.

Economics + Dystopian Literature

Beyond their compelling stories, dystopian tales like The Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, and Brave New World offer something more for economist Brian O’Roark: perfect settings for an economic analysis. Join him to discover some entertaining insights that we can learn from fictional societies gone wrong.

Date of event
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Creative Curve: Unplugging the Myth of the "Lightbulb Moment"

Looking for that elusive spark of inspiration to write a hit screenplay or book, design an effective marketing campaign, or start a successful company? Learn why technology entrepreneur Allen Gannett says to stop waiting and discover that creative ideas are not just the province of so-called geniuses, but within the reach of everyone.

Date of event
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Constitution and Declaration of Independence: A Contrary View

Have we gotten the principles of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution all wrong? Constitutional law professor Kermit Roosevelt challenges the conventional view that these hallowed documents established our core values and tell us who we are.

Date of event
Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Re-examining Plato's Republic

Classicist Frederick Winter examines the continuing influence of Plato’s utopian vision of the state and how a re-examination of this key Western text provides important insights into our own era of political transformation.

Date of event
Monday, March 9, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Windows on the World: Reading Literature from Many Cultures

Join Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz of Georgetown University in spirited lectures and informal discussions about four compelling novels that explore stories set in Spain, India, the Dominican Republic, and the world of classical Greek mythology.

Date of event
Monday, March 9, April 6, May 4, and June 8, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Author Erik Larson on Churchill's Darkest Year

MEMBERS-ONLY PROGRAM: Drawing on his new book The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson offers a vivid portrait of London and Winston Churchill during the Blitz, detailing how the prime minister taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” Ticket includes a copy of The Splendid and the Vile.

Date of event
Monday, March 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Life Lessons with Judith Viorst: From Under 9 to Nearing 90

Judith Viorst’s sharp observations about adulting—reflected in her series of decade-focused poetry books—offer just as much fun and insights as her beloved children’s stories. Join her as she shares her wry wisdom on such matters as aging, love, marriage, friendship, and happiness drawn from her newest title, Nearing 90 and Other Comedies of Late Life.

Date of event
Monday, March 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Forensic Anthropologist Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs is known for her crime-fiction novels chronicling the adventures of Temperance (Bones) Brennan, a forensic anthropologist at the fictional Jeffersonian Institute. Join her as she uncovers the challenges of translating real-life drama into the stuff of fiction, discusses her dual careers, and shares stories behind her newest novel, A Conspiracy of Bones.

Date of event
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Writing a Successful Screenplay

You've got a brilliant idea for a terrific film. Your next move is to master the steps in turning it into a reality on the screen. Spend a valuable two days with Marc Lapadula, a screenwriting professor at Yale University, as he analyzes the key ingredients of a successful script.

Date of event
Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, 2020 - 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

A Creative Writing Workshop at the Freer

Slow down and savor the experience of looking at art. Join Mary Hall Surface, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, as you engage in detailed observations of works in the Freer’s collection and frame your reactions through descriptive writing and poetry.

Date of event
Friday, March 27, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.

Celebrating Robert Frost: An American Poet

More than 50 years after his death, Robert Frost remains one of the most beloved and critically respected poets of all time. Author Daniel Stashower explores Frost’s life and legacy and actor Scott Sedar reads a selection of his most celebrated works.

Date of event
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Start To Tell Your Family Story

You have a trove of wonderful family memories, but documenting them to share with the people you love can be a challenging undertaking. Bring your own mementos to inspire your work in this practical day led by writing coach Mathina Calliope, who provides the tools and guidance you need to move from daunted to accomplished.

Date of event
Saturday, April 4, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.