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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Authors, Books, & Writing Programs

Course
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing that offers a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon for a series of workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on Antonio Martorell’s La Playa Negra I (Tar Beach I).

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

A Conversation on Race, Activism, and Change

Drawing on themes from her new book State of Emergency: How We Win in the Country We Built (Atria/Black Privilege Publishing), activist and social justice leader Tamika D. Mallory is joined in a roundtable discussion about racial inequality by comedian, actress, and producer Tiffany Haddish; model and activist Emily Ratajkowski; community leader and advocate Tony Lewis Jr; and April Ryan, White House Correspondent, CNN Political Analyst, and D.C. Bureau Chief for TheGrio, who serves as moderator.

Part of the Smithsonian Women’s History Initiative, Because of Her Story

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

What keeps Dante’s Divine Comedy still meaningful today, even though it was written seven centuries ago? Explore Dante’s epic poem in all its cultural and historical richness—without the need of footnotes—and discover the ways his timeless wisdom and insights can enhance our everyday lives.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

CNN anchor Jake Tapper called on his inside knowledge of Washington’s workings to write his newest period political thriller The Devil May Dance, in which Congressman Charlie Marder and his wife Margaret find themselves launched into the dark side of 1960s Hollywood on a dangerous assignment from Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Join him as he discusses mixing politicos and the Rat Pack in his book, as well as his work covering the non-fictional Washington.

Course
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing that offers a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon for a series of workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on 20th-century African American artist Alma Thomas’ colorful compositions.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, June 7, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Admiral William H. McRaven, U.S. Navy (Ret.) talks about what it means to be a hero. Given his record of service to his country as leader of the United States Special Operations Command, it’s not a cliché to say it takes one to know one.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 7:00 p.m.  ET

Join historian, author, and public humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson as he clears a path for readers that leads to a full appreciation of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, one of the most beautiful, transcendent, and indeed revolutionary books in the American literary canon.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, June 12, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Historian Jennifer Paxton examines the history behind Shakespeare’s history plays and explores the fascinating ways in which he did—and did not—depart from what his contemporaries knew about their own past both to entertain his audience and to comment on the politics of his own day.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

One of the most sought-after vocal coaches in Hollywood, Denise Woods shares proven, practical, and invaluable tools to change both how we communicate and ultimately how we see ourselves.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

At the height of the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy saw outer space exploration as a race for survival—and America was losing to the Soviet Union. Author Jeff Shesol examines why John Glenn’s February 1962 mission into space had greater goals than circling the planet: It was to calm the fears of the free world and renew America’s sense of self-belief.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, June 26, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Historian and scholar Michele L. Simms-Burton, a former professor of African-American studies at Howard University examines the creators and the works that came alive during one of the most creative and intellectually productive eras in African American history, the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. ET

From On the Road to Huckleberry Finn, Moby Dick to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, American writers have produced a wealth of books that chronicle journeys—a genre that extends back to Homer’s Odyssey. Historian and author Clay Jenkinson examines the nature of the literature of the road and how it reflects the restlessness in our national character.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Across America, the pure love and popularity of barbecue cookery has gone through the roof. Adrian Miller—admitted ’cuehead and longtime certified barbecue judge—asks why African Americans aren’t receiving the recognition they deserve in today’s barbecue culture. He reveals how Black barbecuers, pitmasters, and restaurateurs helped develop this cornerstone of American foodways and how they are coming into their own today.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

In the aftermath of the Civil War, a critic suggested that the quest to capture the American experience in one book—“the Great American Novel”—was too great a challenge. But over the years, many authors have made remarkable attempts. Explore seven books that seem to have found a way to tell the American story.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, July 8, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Photographer Dan Patterson and American historian Clinton Terry use historically accurate contemporary photos that restage the work of Virginia's first surveyor, George Washington, and his team to provide an interpretive look at the art and science of surveying in the 18th century—and how early America was initially divided and documented.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Take a fascinating look at the vivid history of undercover reporters who exposed corruption and abuse in America—and in the process redefined what it means to be a woman and a journalist. (Part of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Because of Her Story)

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

The Harry Potter novels may seem like a strange perspective from which to view economics. In a realm filled with magic, we might expect the economic problems that we muggles face to disappear in a puff of smoke. But, as economist Brian O’Roark explains, even the Boy Who Lived has to come to grips with fiscal reality.

Course
Monday, July 26, August 23, and September 27, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Join Author Michael Gorra  in an exploration of three works by William Faulkner, one of the greatest—and most problematic—figures in American literature.