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Authors, Books, & Writing Programs

Author Geraldine Brooks examines the enduring appeal of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel and its roots in the author’s life. Brooks, who drew on the Civil War-era experiences of the family’s head, Bronson Alcott, in her Pulitzer Prize–winning novel March, explores how Alcott’s radical parents and their progressive intellectual milieu shaped the woman, and the writer, she became.

Event date
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The long fight against American slavery produced some of the most powerful autobiographies and works of fiction in American history. Read and discuss four 19th-century classics by men and women, both black and white, who were central figures in the struggle to destroy the institution. This session features Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave.

Event date
Thursday, April 25, 2019 – 6:45 p.m.

We’ve held them in our hands forever, but books have radically shifted their forms over the millennia. Steven Galbraith, curator of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at the Rochester Institute of Technology, unfolds the pages of their history and previews their future.

Event date
Saturday, May 4, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The fictional heroines of Fanny Burney, Jane Austen, Anne Bronte, and Elisabeth Gaskell navigate a world in which their choices, status, and freedom are in the hands of the men who rule it. Join Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz of Georgetown University in spirited commentary and informal discussions about four novels in which women find new ways to define themselves in England during the 18th and 19th centuries. This session discusses Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Event date
Thursday, May 9, 2019 - 12:00 p.m.

Though its heroine called the Kansas prairie home, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz created perhaps the most beloved and enduring imaginary locale in children’s literature. Author Daniel Stashower and actor Scott Sedar strike off on a celebratory journey through L. Frank Baum’s life, works, and legacy.

Event date
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The fictional heroines of Fanny Burney, Jane Austen, Anne Bronte, and Elisabeth Gaskell navigate a world in which their choices, status, and freedom are in the hands of the men who rule it. Join Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz of Georgetown University in spirited commentary and informal discussions about four novels in which women find new ways to define themselves in England during the 18th and 19th centuries. This session discusses Elisabeth Gaskell’s North and South.

Event date
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 12:00 p.m.

Do Spider-Man’s existential doubts revolve around opportunity costs? Economist Brian O’Roark examines a powerful (if unlikely) alliance between the worlds of the comics and economics and why, despite their amazing powers, superheroes are still beholden to its laws.

Event date
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The latest developments in imagining technology are uncovering centuries-old secrets hidden in fire- and water-damaged manuscripts, drawings, old books, and ephemera. Michael B. Toth, a specialist in the field, discusses recent projects, including ones that that provided insights into Shakespeare’s first folios and revelations about Ben Franklin found beneath an ink spill.

Event date
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Historian Richard Bell reconstructs the fascinating history of America’s Declaration of Independence, covering its origins, purpose, impact, and its extraordinary influence on more than 100 similar declarations in countries around the world.

Event date
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.