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Author Talk & Book Signing: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

Tuesday, June 18 @ 6 pm 

International best-selling author, Wendy Walker discusses and signs her latest suspense novel, The Night Before. Rosie and Laura are as different as two sisters can be. One is stable and has the perfect family. The other struggles to break free from her troubled past. When Laura disappears after going on a blind date, Rosie takes matters into her own hands. But as Rosie begins to search for her sister, her greatest fears come to the surface. Could Laura be more of a danger than the stranger she meets or is the night before her last night alive? Told in dual timelines—the night before and the day after—The Night Before is a riveting story about family loyalty, obsession, and what happens when the desire for love spins out of control.

“Walker excels at exploiting multiple timelines and ample misdirection to maximize the suspense of her twist-filled tale.” ―Publisher’s Weekly
“Walker’s clever misdirection paves the way to a truly chilling finale. Twisty and propulsive.” ―Kirkus

Books will be available for sale & signing at the event courtesy of Hickory Stick Book Store.

Ms. Walker is the author of the national and international bestsellers All Is Not Forgotten and Emma in the Night. She has sold rights to her books in 23 languages as well as film and television options. Prior to her writing career, Wendy practiced both corporate and family law, having earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and her undergraduate degree from Brown University. Wendy also worked as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs & Co. She is currently finishing her fourth thriller.

Ice Ages, Plate Collisions, Earthquakes and Climate Change

Saturday, June 22 @ 11 am

A lot has happened to the land we now know as Northwest Connecticut! From mountain ranges to climate change, geology helps us understand the world around us. Join us as Dr. Anderson, professor and the Director of Undergraduate Students for the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, leads a fascinating talk about our region. Dr. Anderson is an igneous petrologist and much of his work has been devoted to an understanding of crust formation and plate tectonics. Participants will learn how the Appalachian Mountains formed, what evidence the six ice ages left behind, and what New England’s earthquakes mean for coastal dwellers.

For more information on Weantinoge visit

Dr. James Lawford Anderson received his geology M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His undergraduate studies in geology were at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, his home state. He is a Fellow of both the Geological Society of America and the Mineralogical Society of America.


Author Talk & Book Signing: Peripheral Vision by Susan Kinsolving

Sunday, June 23 @ 2 pm  

Internationally acclaimed poet Susan Kinsolving will lead a reading and signing of her recently released book, Peripheral Vision.

Peripheral Vision, Susan Kinsolving’s fourth book of poems, explores the world from many points of view. She takes her readers to England, Hollywood, Wyoming, France, and Chile. She goes behind the scenes in a military hospital, an elementary school, and a disturbed family. Her poems were described in the New Yorker as “grand and almost terrifying.” In this new collection, she proves herself again. As a guest poet and lecturer, Kinsolving has performed at numerous venues, including Harvard, Columbia, and Yale University, as well as Bad Robot in Santa Monica and Bread Loaf in Vermont.

Books will be available for sale & signing at the event courtesy of Hickory Stick Book Store.

Susan Kinsolving’s previous books are The White Eyelash and Dailies & Rushes, a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Award and Among Flowers. Her poems have
appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She has received critical acclaim from The New York Times, The New Yorker, Poetry, Kirkus Reviews, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, and Publishers Weekly. Kinsolving has taught at seminars and schools across the country. As a guest poet and lecturer, she has appeared in many venues, nationally and internationally. Susan has received residential poetry fellowships from France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Switzerland, New York, Illinois, and Wyoming. She is currently poet in residence at Hotchkiss School.


Book Discussion: The Witch Elm by Tana French

Tuesday, June 25 @ 6:30 pm 

English Professor Christopher Rempfer, MFA will facilitate a book discussion on Witch Elm, one of the New York Times Notable Book of 2018. From the writer who “inspires cultic devotion in readers” (The New Yorker) and has been called “incandescent” by Stephen King and “absolutely mesmerizing” by Gillian Flynn comes a gripping novel that turns a crime story inside out. A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.

“French’s best book. . . Her most intricately nuanced novel yet.” The New York Times
A brilliant new work of suspense from “the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years” (Washington Post)

Copies of the book will be available at the circulation desk three weeks prior to the discussion.

Christopher Rempfer is a Professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury where he also runs the college’s Liberal Arts and Sciences Degree Program. Prior to joining the full-time faculty at NVCC, Chris taught English and Speech and Public Speaking at the City College of New York, where he earned is MFA in Creative Writing in 2010. He has also taught at Quinnipiac University and in the summer international program at Yale University. Prior to returning to Connecticut, where he grew up, he was an actor and writer based in New York City.


The Errors in Comedy of Errors

Thursday, June 27 @ 6:30 pm

Yale Professor Dr. Schenker will explore the tragicomic elements of the play that point us to darker themes in Shakespeare’s tragedies and especially his “problem plays”: All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, and Troilus and Cressida. The errors in the play are misunderstandings, mainly based on judging from appearances (e.g., someone mistakes one person for his twin). But those errors are not slight: they occur in the context of shipwreck and family separation, imprisonment and threat of execution. And they engender accusations of adultery and insanity. Because the play is a comedy, those errors are corrected eventually—and improbably. And yet, but for its neat resolution of confusions, The Comedy of Errors has the makings of tragedy, and serves as a reminder of how closely allied the comic and the tragic are in Shakespeare’s body of work.

Mark J. Schenker has been at Yale College since 1990.  He is currently a senior associate dean of the College and dean of academic affairs.  A former lecturer in the English Department, he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University with a concentration in 19th-century and early 20th-century English literature. Dean Schenker has for over 25 years lectured on literature and film and has led book discussion series in more than 100 venues in Connecticut, including public libraries, museums, and cultural centers.  For the past decade, he has given programs on Shakespeare’s plays in conjunction with Shakespeare on the Sound.  He also conducts monthly sessions for a number of private reading groups in Connecticut. In 2001, he received the Wilbur Cross Award for Outstanding Humanities Scholar, presented by the Connecticut Humanities Council.

The main stage productions of The Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare in the Park will take place at the River Walk Pavilion in Washington, CT nightly Wednesday, August 7 th through Sunday, August 11th @ 7:30 p.m. Performances are free; audience is encouraged to bring blankets, beach/lawn chairs and picnic dinners for these theatre under the stars events. For more information visit


Author Talk & Book Signing: Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Sunday, June 30 @ 2 pm  

Lisa Brennan-Jobs, daughter of Apple founder Steve Jobs, discusses and signs her entrancing memoir, Small Fry. 

Small Fry, A New York Times and New Yorker top 10 book of the year, is Lisa Brennan-Job’s poignant story of a childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary homes. Scrappy, wise and funny, young Lisa is an unforgettable guide through her parents’ fascinating and disparate worlds. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the seventies and eighties. Small Fry is an enthralling coming of age story from one of the most exciting new literary voices.

Lisa’s childhood unfolded in a rapidly changing Silicon Valley. When she was young, Lisa’s father was a mythical figure who was rarely present in her life. As she grew older, her father
took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools. His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical and unpredictable. When
her relationship with her mother, artist Chrisann Brennan, grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he’d become the parent she’d always wanted him to

“Beautiful, literary, and devastating.”—New York Times Book Review
Mesmerizing, discomfiting reading… A book of no small literary skill.”—New Yorker

Books will be available for sale & signing at the event courtesy of Hickory Stick Book Store.


Exhibition on Screen: Young Picasso

Thursday, July 11 @ 6:30 pm  

Pablo Picasso is one of the greatest artists of all time – and right up until his death in 1973 he was the most prolific of artists. Many films have dealt with these later years – the art, the affairs and the wide circle of friends. But where did this all begin? What made Picasso in the first place? Too long ignored, it is time to look at the early years of Picasso; the upbringing and the learning that led to his extraordinary achievements. Three cities play a key role: Malaga, Barcelona and Paris. Young Picasso visits each and explores their influence on Picasso, focusing on specific artworks from these early years. The film thus explains how this young artist acquired his craft. Looking carefully at two key early periods – the so-called Blue Period and Rose Period – the film takes us all the way to 1907 and the creation of a critical painting in the history of art – Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. It was a painting that shocked the art world but changed it irrevocably. Picasso was only 25 years old. Working closely with all three Picasso Museums in Malaga, Barcelona and Paris this film explains how he rose to great heights. Directed by Phil Grabsky.
1h 30 min. This screening is co-sponsored with Washington Art Association. For more information visit


A Night at the Opera

Thursday, July 18 @ 6:30 pm  

Musicologist, music theorist and award winning professor, Dr. Gil Harel will present an engaging, musically enhanced visual demonstration. As the ultimate intertwining of text and tone, opera has captivated audiences for more than four centuries. During this lecture, Professor Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) will provide a broad yet detailed overview of opera in its various incarnations, with the ultimate goal of illuminating the “how” and “why” it has been and remains one of the most compelling musical idioms in the world. During this discussion, classics by three composers – Mozart, Verdi, and Wagner – will be considered.

Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from classical repertoire to jazz and popular music, as well as opera, medieval, and renaissance music. Previously, he has served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College, where he was awarded the prestigious “Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching” as well as the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. Currently, he teaches at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he was recently presented with the coveted “;Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College.” At NVCC, Dr. Harel conducts the college chorale, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions. His commitment to community-oriented lecturing spans many years. He has been hosted as a featured speaker at many learning-oriented events in Connecticut, New York, as well as Massachusetts. Outside of teaching, he enjoys staying active as a pianist and vocalist. 



All programs are free and open to the public, but registration is requested.
Please call 860-868-7586 for further information or visit
The Gunn Memorial Library is located at
5 Wykeham Road at Route 47 on the Green, in Washington, CT.