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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Authors, Books, & Writing Programs

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

When a freak accident on board the International Space Station results in an order to return to Earth, astronaut Walli Beckwith refuses to leave her post. Earth is in trouble and she feels she must do something. Join Jeffrey Kluger, author of Apollo 13, in a discussion of his new novel, Holdout, and his career as a science writer with former NASA astronaut Marsha Ivins.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. ET

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” With these words, Elizabeth Barrett Browning has come down to us as a romantic heroine, a recluse controlled by a domineering father and often overshadowed by her husband, Robert Browning. But she defied cultural constraints—a modern figure whose life is a study in self-invention. Writer and poet Fiona Sampson presents a nuanced, comprehensive portrait of Britain’s most famous female poet.

Course
Monday, August 23, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Join Author Michael Gorra in an exploration of works by William Faulkner, one of the greatest—and most problematic—figures in American literature. This session focuses on Light in August.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, September 1, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Hummingbirds have captured our imaginations with their unsurpassed jewel-like plumage, acrobatic flight, and ethereal presence. Nature writer Jon Dunn recalls his adventures following hummingbirds from Alaska to the tip of South America.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, September 13, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Join Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger on a journey to Regency England as seen through the eyes of Jane Austen and her novels.  She provides fans of Austen added insight into the characters and their lives, and aficionados of history with the details and dramas that made this one of the most fascinating eras in English history.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, September 13, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In the wake of the January 6 siege on the Capitol, bitter political divisiveness, anger, and irrational thinking continue to roil the United States, inhibiting the possibility of logical debate. Enlightenment scholar Seth David Radwell proposes a plan to begin the process of repair and reconciliation: a new dialogue between all thoughtful Americans, informed by our country’s history.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, September 21, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist George F. Will casts a careful eye on what defines the American experience as he explores an array of topics including drug policy and the criminal justice system; the First Amendment; meritocracy and education; Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and The Beach Boys; and, yes, the morality of enjoying football.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Lady Bird Johnson’s complex and captivating role—as a political partner to her husband, as a vital yet underappreciated presence in the White House, and as a critical advisor and strategist—is revealed in Julia Sweig’s new biography of the first lady. The story is told in Lady Bird’s own words through the largely unknown audio diaries that she kept during her five-plus years as first lady.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, September 25, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

Something about Baltimore clearly nurtures the literary impulse, but what is it, exactly? Arts journalist and Charm City resident Richard Selden explores the reasons as he takes a look at the sites and works closely connected with the most famous writers who lived there.

Course
Monday, September 27, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Join Author Michael Gorra in an exploration of works by William Faulkner, one of the greatest—and most problematic—figures in American literature. This session focuses on Absalom, Absalom!

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The Amur River is the tenth longest river in the world—yet it is almost unknown. The river rises in the Mongolian mountains, then flows through Siberia to the Pacific. Colin Thubron brings alive a privotal world as he recounts an eye-opening, often-perilous journey from the Amur’s secret headwaters to the river’s desolate end.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman share the surprising history of Grimms Fairytales, and how these tales—too often dismissed as simple children's stories—have profoundly shaped Western culture.

Course
Sunday, October 3, 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 Van Gogh: Artist and Writer. (World Art History Certificate elective: Earn ½ credit)

Course
Wednesday, October 6, 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 Born a Crime by comic Trevor Noah who recounts his childhood in apartheid South Africa.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

There’s no mystery why the fame of Sherlock Holmes now stretches into a third century or why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is firmly established as one of the most popular and best-loved writers of all time. Writer Daniel Stashower, author of Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle, and actor Scott Sedar investigate the life and works of the legendary sleuth of Baker Street and his creator.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 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 popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Inspired by works of art by Hudson River landscape painter Jasper Francis Cropse and poetry by Mary Oliver, explore the lessons that the season of autumn offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 7, 2021 - 8:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. ET

Award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen table. Join him for a big night as he discusses his favorite food memories; his recent series for CNN; his new book, Taste: My Life Through Food; and what he’s most looking forward to in the future of food. Mangia!

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, October 16, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

Dante’s epic poem has provided inspiration for countless artists—from manuscript illuminators to painters and sculptors from a variety of cultures and time periods. Art historian Aneta Georgievska Shine explores some of the greatest of those works by such artists as Botticelli, Blake, Redon, and Rodin. (World Art History Certificate elective,1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Who gets commemorated in art and why? Drawing on her new book Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern, noted classicist Mary Beard tells the story of how for more than two millennia portraits of the rich, powerful, and famous in the western world have been shaped by the image of Roman emperors, from the ruthless Julius Caesar to the fly-torturing Domitian. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Wednesday, October 20, 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
Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Follow the writer’s footsteps through the capital’s downtown as historian Garrett Peck examines the urban backdrop against which Whitman carved out a role as a nurse to Civil War soldiers; met the love of his life; worked as a federal clerk; and built a community through his literary circle.

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. Journalist, author, and educator Steve Roberts, Cokie’s husband of 53 years, reflects on her 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
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.

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)