Booksink's HamletHub Wed, 17 Jan 2018 12:36:48 -0500 My Life Off the Post Road: Visitors

What I miss most about home are the people. I wish my friends and family could just all be here in this magical place with me. This week, two of them were. My sister and niece got out of JFK a day early, after learning their flight had been cancelled due to the impending “bomb cyclone.” And it’s a good thing they did. Had they tried to reschedule, the awful weather would likely have cancelled their trip.

They have both lived in England for a time, and visited often, so their return to London was like coming home. I have been to London many times, as well, but not once since I’ve arrived here. I happily took the opportunity of their visit to make the two-plus hour train trip down.

First stop, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. I have never been there, and having spent this last term immersed in Shakespeare and early modern English culture, I could not wait to see it. It is not the original, nor is it on the precise site (the pesky London Bridge occupies that), but it is meticulously, historically close enough. A faithful reproduction, it attempts and succeeds at recreating the original faithfully. Small details have changed, like the use of Kashmir goat hair instead of cow hair in the wall plaster mixture (it’s more readily available) and the concrete floor (the crushed hazelnuts and dirt of Shakespeare’s time had to be oft-replaced and made quite a mess in the oft-falling rain). I stood in the place where the Groundlings would have stood and rested my hand on the wooden stage of the Wooden O. Pretty magical.

I walked through the sights, sounds, and smells of the bustling Borough Market to catch the tube at London Bridge, riding to meet my sister at Knightsbridge. I don’t think I realized how much I’d missed her until I saw her. It was surreal to hug her steps from Harrods, but so nice. We had lunch in a quaint, quintessential London pub, ironically named The Wilton Arms ... so close to home, but so far. My niece joined us in the ever-fashionable Harvey Nichols’ Fifth Floor Café, where we enjoyed tea and the smallest scone with the biggest price tag that I’ve had since I’ve been here. Along with some delicious people watching. Any one of the tall, slender, impeccably-clad, and carefully-coiffed wait staff could have been models.

A few days later, they took the train up to the West Midlands to spend a couple of days here in Stratford, and I very much enjoyed showing them around our little hamlet (pun fully intended). The weather was typically dreary and damply chilly, but that did not diminish our intrepid Meyer sight-seeing determination: we visited all the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust homes in Stratford, as well as the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre, Holy Trinity Church, the Shakespeare Institute, as well as numerous shops, cafes, pubs, and bookstores. We covered a lot of ground, and even stopped in to The West End to meet Cooper the enormous Great Dane.

Like when my boys were here, their visit gave me a much-needed rejuvenation. After the boys left, I sunk into the miasma of nonstop essay writing, and I’d finished just before they arrived so I could spend the time with them. Their familiar, familial presence lifted me up and out of the doldrums that the hermetic month had engendered. There’s no place like home, but if you can’t be there, it’s pretty good to have home come to you.

Photos by Diane Lowman

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Fri, 12 Jan 2018 04:33:31 -0500
Wilton Library Hosts Mystery Author Sujata Massey on Jan. 17

Wilton Library will host Sujata Massey, author of "The Widows of Malabar Hill: A Mystery of 1920s Bombay," on Wednesday, Jan. 17 from 7 - 8:30 p.m. A Q&A and book signing will follow the talk, which is free and open to the public. Registration is highly recommended. Click here to register online. Books will be available for purchase courtesy of Elm Street Books, New Canaan.

Inspired in part by the woman who made history as India’s first female attorney, "The Widows of Malabar Hill" is a richly wrought story of multicultural 1920s Bombay as well as the debut of a sharp and promising new sleuth.

Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes women’s legal rights especially important to her.

Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? Perveen is suspicious and now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill. 
Sujata Massey was born in England to parents from India and Germany, raised mostly in St. Paul, Minnesota, and lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her novels have won the Agatha and Macavity awards and been finalists for the Edgar, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark prizes.  Visit her website at
Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in Wilton. For more information, phone (203) 762-6334, or visit
]]> (Wilton Library) Authors Fri, 12 Jan 2018 04:23:02 -0500
"House of Thieves" Author Charles Belfoure to Speak at Fairfield University Bookstore on Jan. 25

Charles Belfoure, New York Times bestselling author of "House of Thieves" and "The Paris Architect," will speak at the downtown Fairfield University Bookstore on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. Copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing. The talk is free and open to the public.

"House of Thieves" is a fascinating look at the two poles of New York society in the late 19th century, from the extreme opulence of the Knickerbocker society to the opium dens and whorehouses of the criminal underworld. It also presents an exciting new twist on the intriguing architecture angle that drew readers to "The Paris Architect." Library Journal calls it, “A pulse-raising read for historical crime and historical thriller fans.

"The Paris Architect," called a "spine-chilling page turner" by Publisher's Weekly, is set in 1942 Paris. Gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money - and maybe get him killed. But if he's clever enough, he'll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won't find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can't resist.

Charles Belfoure is an architect by profession, with a specialty in historical preservation. He graduated from the Pratt Institute and Columbia University. Learn more at

The Fairfield University Bookstore Downtown is located at 1499 Post Road, Fairfield, Conn. For more information, phone (203) 255-7756. 

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Authors Fri, 12 Jan 2018 04:03:43 -0500
Connecticut Press Club Announces 2018 Communications Contest

If you published a book, started a blog, wrote a news article or op-ed piece article, created a social media campaign, or snapped a photograph you're particularly proud of, enter it in the Connecticut Press Club’s Communications Contest, which rewards excellence in a wide range of categories.

Entries in 64 categories will be judged by professionals with corresponding expertise. Categories include:

  • online and print news articles and columns
  • social media campaigns
  • nonfiction, fiction, poetry, YA and children's books
  • specialty articles in the arts, food, business, education, travel and more...
  • page design, editing, photography and graphics
  • radio and TV
  • podcasts and blogs
  • advertising and PR

Click here to download instructions on how to enter your work in the contest. If you have questions, email

Things to keep in mind:

Contest Fees: If you are a member of the CT Press Club, the fee is $25 for the first entry and $15 for each additional entry. Non-members pay $30 for the first entry and $20 for each additional entry.

Eligibility: Anyone who is a member of the CT Press Club or either lives or works in Connecticut is eligible to enter (you can join the CT Press Club when you enter the contest; dues are $35/year). Work published between January 1st and December 31st, 2017 is eligible.

Deadlines: The Connecticut early bird deadline is January 23rd and the regular deadline is February 6th. (After January 23rd, a one-time late fee of $25 will be added, whether you have one entry or many).

We will celebrate the winners with a cocktail party and awards ceremony in May.

Anyone who receives a first place award in the Connecticut contest will be eligible to enter the National Federation of Press Women National Communications Contest, providing 2018 NFPW membership dues have been paid. (Membership dues can be paid when you register for the contest.)

There is a separate high school contest.

The Connecticut Press Club is an affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW), which administers the state affiliate contests. You do not have to join the NFPW to enter our statewide contest, and if you'd like to join the CT Press Club, you can pay the fee online or send a check made out to Connecticut Press Club to: P.O. Box 45, Cos Cob, CT 06807.

The Connecticut Press Club is an affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW), and includes both male and female members. Though inactive in recent years, the Club has been relaunched under the leadership of Michele Turk, a Greenwich-based writer/editor and owner of A Bloc of Writers, Inc. The club’s base was once comprised mainly of print and broadcast journalists, but now welcomes all types of communicators: writers, editors, bloggers, authors, educators, public relations professionals, media photographers, students and more. Plans for the coming year include lectures by sought-after speakers, professional development workshops, networking and social outings. For more information, e-mail" qowt-eid="E206" id="E206">

New York Times bestselling author, Jane Green, emceed and awarded CT Press Club contest winners at last year’s ceremony at The Boathouse at Saugatuck, Westport.


]]> (Aline Wieller) Local Writers Fri, 12 Jan 2018 03:12:00 -0500
Writer's Workshops with Judith Marks-White Return to Byrd's Books on Jan. 21

Byrd's Books will host another series of popular Writer's Workshops with Judith Marks-White. The next set of dates for workshops begin Jan. 21 and continue Feb. 11 and 25, March 4 and 18, and April 15. Participants can register for one, or all.

They fill up quickly so register early!

Byrd's Books is located at 126 Greenwood Ave in Bethel. For more information, visit them online here. 

]]> (Byrd's Books) Local Writers Fri, 12 Jan 2018 03:10:33 -0500
Tom Hlas to Exhibit at Norfolk Library

Norfolk artist Tom Hlas will be exhibiting his work at the Norfolk Library for the month of February. The exhibit, titled "Explorations," features mixed media works.

An opening reception for art show will be held on Jan. 28 from 4 to 6 p.m. at The Norfolk Library. The show runs from Jan. 28 - Feb. 28.

The art reception is graciously hosted by the Norfolk Library Associates.

Norfolk Library is located On the Green – 9 Greenwoods Road East in Norfolk, Conn. For more information, call (860) 542-5075.

]]> (Norfolk Library Staff) Beyond Books Fri, 12 Jan 2018 03:00:00 -0500
Books on Stage: "Nugget and Fang" Under-the-Sea Musical at Westport Country Playhouse Jan. 21

Westport Country Playhouse will present the under-the-sea musical “Nugget and Fang,” based on the popular book by Tammi Sauer, as part of its Family Festivities Series on Sunday, Jan. 21. Performances are at 1 and 4 p.m. Produced by ArtsPower, the one-hour production is appropriate for grades Pre-K through 3. Tickets are $20.

The musical tells the story of Nugget, a minnow, and Fang, a shark, who get along swimmingly — until Nugget’s first day of minnow school. There, Nugget learns that minnows are supposed to be afraid of sharks! To regain Nugget’s trust, Fang takes desperate and hilarious measures. Nothing goes as planned. Fang is moping in deep waters when he notices that Nugget and his minnow schoolmates are caught up in some big trouble - and one very big net. Holy mackerel! Can Fang save the day and prove he’s a true friend?

On Saturday, Jan. 13 at 2:30 p.m., one week before the Playhouse presentation of “Nugget and Fang,” The Westport Library will offer “Story Explorers,” a free-of-charge program featuring an interactive book reading of “Nugget and Fang” and activities surrounding the book’s theme led by instructors from Broadway Method Academy, the Playhouse’s resident conservatory. The hour-long program promotes childhood literacy while also enhancing children’s experiences of attending the Playhouse’s Family Festivities shows.

In conjunction with the Family Festivities Series, the Playhouse will once again host a book collection for Read to Grow, Inc., a statewide nonprofit organization that provides free children's books to families with limited access and to community resources that serve them. At each Family Festivities performance, bins will be located in the Playhouse lobby for donations of gently used and new children’s books which will be given to families and programs in the greater Fairfield County area through Read to Grow. During last season’s Family Festivities series, the Playhouse collected nearly 300 books.

The Playhouse’s six-show Family Festivities Series is presented on selected Sundays from December through May, featuring musical productions based on classic and contemporary children’s stories. Upcoming Family Festivities musicals include “Junie B. Jones,” on Sunday, Feb. 11, TheatreWorks USA’s tale of outspoken, precocious, lovable Junie B. Jones, adapted from the bestselling series of books by Barbara Park, recommended for grades K through 5; “Pinkalicious, the Musical,” on Sunday, March 11, Vital Theatre Company’s production based on the bestselling book from Victoria and Elizabeth Kann aboutPinkalicious who can't stop eating pink cupcakes despite warnings from her parents, appropriate for ages 2 through 7; “How I Became a Pirate,” on Sunday, April 15, Dallas Children’s Theatre’s rollicking musical adventure about young Jeremy Jacob who joins Captain Braid Beard’s band of comical pirates, based on the bestselling book by Melinda Long, recommended for grades K through 5; and “Harry and the Dirty Dog,” on Sunday May 6, ArtsPower’s charming musical about a dog named Harry, who hates taking baths, based on the book by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, appropriate for grades K through 2.

Westport Country Playhouse is located at 25 Powers Court, off Route 1 in Westport. For more information and to buy tickets, visit, or call the box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529.

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Readers Thu, 11 Jan 2018 22:53:12 -0500
Norwalk's Theatre Artists Workshop Presents "Twelve Angry Men" Feb. 9 - 11

The Theatre Artists Workshop will present three staged reading performances of the classic Reginald Rose play “Twelve Angry Men,” a blistering character study and an examination of the American melting pot and the judicial system that keeps it in check, on February 9, 10 and 11. The Friday and Saturday performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. and the Sunday performance will be a 3 p.m. matinee.  A donation of $20 is suggested.

The readings will be directed by Broadway veteran and Fairfield native Mike Boland, who will also play Juror 3. Two-time Emmy winner John Wesley Shipp of New York City will play Juror 8. Boland and Shipp performed the show together at the Judson Theatre Company in Pinehurst, NC in 2016.

“Twelve Angry Men,” adapted from the classic 1957 movie, was written by former Westport resident Reginald Rose. He first wrote it for CBS television’s live dramatic anthology program “Studio One” in 1954. Rose received an Emmy award for his teleplay and an Oscar nomination for his 1957 screenplay. He died in 2002 in Norwalk, CT.

“Twelve Angry Men” made it’s Broadway premiere in October 2004, running for 228 performances at the American Airlines Theatre before closing in May 2005. The Broadway production was followed by an award-winning Broadway national tour, which ran for more than 500 performances from Sept. 2006 through June 2008.

Theatre Artists Workshop members Jim Gordon (Juror 9) of Norwalk, Jason Peck (Juror 4) of Ridgefield, and Larry Greeley (the Judge) of Wilton will appear in this production. Boland is also a TAW member. The rest of the cast includes Matt Young (Juror 1) of Norwalk, Sam Williamson (Juror 2) of Brooklyn, NY, Paulo Arujo (Juror 5) of Norwalk, Mike Massimino (Juror 6) of Easton, Guy Rocco (Juror 7) of Norwalk, Robert Watts (Juror 10) of Milford, Al Bhatt (Juror 11) of Monroe, and Rob Kennedy (Juror 12) of Bethany.

The Theatre Artists Workshopis located at 5 Gregory Boulevard in Norwalk, Conn. For more information or to reserve your seat for any TAW event, call the box office at (203) 854-6830, or visit

]]> (TAW) Beyond Books Thu, 11 Jan 2018 22:45:28 -0500
On the Children's Shelf: Your Recommendations

I love sharing books we enjoy. I love when others ask me to recommend a book or tell me they read one we recommended. I love receiving book recommendations and I'm hoping you will share your favorites with me.
What I am looking for:
* preferably a series
* something different (see what we read/loved below)
* 2nd to 5th grade age range
We already have:
* The Magic Treehouse
* The Box Car Children
* Nancy Drew
* Captain Underpants
* Diary of a Wimpy Kid
We love Harry Potter and Keeper of the Lost Cities, so anything with a similar would be awesome. I want to introduce new books into our house this year, and I want the younger reader to have options that aren't just the same ones the older readers have already read. Any recommendations appreciated!
Happy New Year of Reading!
]]> (Jessica Collins) Readers Fri, 05 Jan 2018 11:29:32 -0500
My Life Off the Post Road: Essays

At home, when term ends, most college students come home with a terrible cold and lots of laundry to recuperate, relax, and recharge.

Here, when term ends, at least for the MA candidates at the Shakespeare Institute, the work begins in earnest. Although I completed several projects during the term, none of them counted toward my grade. Nor did my perfect class attendance or what I hope were vaguely intelligent and relevant contributions to class discussions. All that matters, grade-wise at least, are the three 4,000-word research/analytical papers that I must submit by January 11. Four days after the spring term begins. It all boils down to that.

I am reluctantly taking a New Year’s Day break to pen this (no reveling last night for me), and to verify that the sun, sky, and River Avon swans are still there. This is by far the most demanding and most difficult thing I’ve ever done, besides giving birth to two beautiful boys, but that was an entirely different type of labor. I remind myself, in my darkest moments, that this was voluntary, and that no matter how deep my misery, I love it. It’s Shakespeare, after all.

Photos by Diane Lowman

I am writing papers on:

  • The Role of Music in Early Modern Drama, and specifically in Much Ado About Nothing
  • The Role of “Foul Papers” (authorial rough drafts) in Shakespearean Textual Studies and Criticism
  • Family Honour and Father/Daughter Relationships in Patriarchal Renaissance England, and specifically in Titus Andronicus, Much Ado About Nothing, and Romeo and Juliet

I was terrified that essay writing would not come back like the proverbial bicycle riding, given the years between my undergrad degree and me. But fortunately, I have had some graduate school in the many intervening years, and I do write essays (albeit creative nonfiction), and we did have a very thorough course on Research Skills at the start of the program.

I found I fell into a very structured (surprise!) rhythm, which included outlining the thesis and argument, spending about four days gathering research material, and another four drafting each essay. Then they require massaging, trimming, and tightening (as do I). The 4,000-word limit is not so much a suggestion as a very bold line in the sand. Finally, I prepare citations and a bibliography in pristine MLA style. I would rather lose points on stupidity than misplaced italics and semicolons.

The scramble to complete the research before the library closed for a full 10 days for the holidays (I guess other people had holidays?) was frantic and physically uncomfortable. As a research library, some sources are available on line, fewer to check out, and the vast majority must be used like in the olden days: finding and flipping through actual books and making copious notes. So when the library boiler broke, we sat freezing like Dickensian orphans while our parent, the University of Birmingham, took six days to fix it.

Where, I wondered, is Gault when you need them? At home, protests against inhuman working conditions would have occurred, lawsuits for emotional distress would have been filed, and helicopter parents would have whirled in to demand action from the Provosts as they draped their progeny in extra North Face fleece. Here, we plugged in a few very ineffectual space heaters and donned thermal tights, leg warmers, and fingerless gloves underneath lap blankets.

I took a brief Christmas break, and a briefer one last night, but have been largely planted on my couch, at my table, or at Caffe Nero, the RSC Riverside Café, or Boston Tea Party. I am peripatetic and need frequent changes of scenery and just the right amount of ambient noise to work efficiently.

I am tired and my brain is fried and my shoulders are on auto-hunch and my wrists and forearms have a weird and not nice tingling most of the time. I have a vague sense that what I’m writing is Dickensian gruel in a language that I’m sure I’ve made up but equally sure isn’t English. I have not exercised meditated or yoga-ed since I can remember. Thank goodness I don’t have a car, because at least I have to walk anywhere I want to go. It forces me outside to have a peek at the aforementioned and elusive sun. I am decidedly not taking the advice I very smugly and urgently gave my own children in college about balance, blah, blah, blah.

Except the one about “just give it your best effort.” I want to write the best essays I can. I am here because I want to be here, and it is a privilege to study with some of the most brilliant Shakespearean scholars on the planet. I do not want to disappoint them or myself.

But also, I can feel deep down in my body that I’m reaching a physical and mental limit, so I will sign off for now and get back to tidying up the loose ends so I can push “submit” on the Turn-It-In system soon. Because on January 8, it starts all over again.

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Fri, 05 Jan 2018 06:54:29 -0500
Tuesday in Wilton: Book Talk with "Sunken Gold" Author Joseph Williams at Wilton Library

Wilton Library will welcome Joseph Williams, author of "Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I, Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History" on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. A Q&A and book signing will follow the free and open to the public talk. Registration is highly recommended. Booka will be available for purchase courtesy of New Canaan's Elm Street Books. To register online, please click here.
On January 25, 1917, the HMS Laurentic struck German mines off the coast of Ireland and sank. Its shipment was critical: Britain at that time was facing escalated submarine warfare, which had been sinking millions of tons of cargo and threatening the country with starvation. The Laurentic was carrying 44 tons of gold bullion to the still-neutral United States via Canada in order to finance the war effort for Britain and its allies. The salvage mission was confidential, since the British government dared not alert the Germans to the presence of the sunken treasure.
Lieutenant Commander Guybon C. C. Damant was the most qualified officer to head the mission. His deed became one of the most notable exploits in the annals of undersea diving and naval operations, and the Laurentic became a model for later salvages. More than an incredible story about undersea diving adventure, "The Sunken Gold" is a story of human persistence, bravery, and patriotism.
Joseph A. Williams is a librarian, archivist, and historian holding master's degrees in History and Library and Information Science from Queens College. He worked for several years at the State University of New York Maritime College's Stephen B. Luce Library which specializes in nautical research. Currently, he is the Deputy Director of the Greenwich Library. Joseph has published in the fields of maritime history and librarianship including articles in scholarly journals, popular sea history magazines, trade publications, and chapters in anthologies.
Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in Wilton, Conn. For more information, visit
]]> (Wilton Library) Authors Fri, 05 Jan 2018 06:44:21 -0500
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Poetry Contest Entries Due January 13

What do peace and justice mean to you? Students in grades 2 - 12 are invited to enter the Ferguson Library's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Poetry Contest with a poem on the personal meaning of peace and justice.
Entry forms are available at all library locations and on the Youth Events page of the library's website. Entries are due Jan. 13. Prizes will be awarded at the Stamford citywide MLK celebration at the Yerwood Center Monday, Jan. 15.
The Ferguson Library's Main Library, DiMattia Building is located at One Public Library Plaza in Stamford, Conn. For more information, call (203) 351-8243.
Photo: New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)
]]> (Ferguson Library) Local Writers Fri, 05 Jan 2018 06:16:55 -0500
Call for Poets: "Poetic Inspiration" Reading and Reflections

An evening of poetry and art is coming to the Westport Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. The program is co-hosted by community partners Westport Arts Advisory, Westport Arts Center, and Westport Library in conjunction with the library's WestportREADS 2018 reading of "Regeneration" by Pat Barker.

Poets interested in participating should submit poetry for consideration by Sunday, Jan. 21 via email:

Barker’s novel combines both fictional and real characters seeking to make sense of World War I and their changed world, centering on Siegfried Sassoon, noted poet and decorated war hero. Sassoon was among the prominent British poets whose response to WWI changed the landscape of modern poetry. In honor of this legacy, the program invites modern poets to respond to our times and the challenges we all face.

This evening of readings is set within “Ward Shelley’s What Keeps Mankind Alive” exhibit at the Westport Arts Center, “An ideal setting for this collaboration of spoken word and visual art,” a Westport Arts Advisory representative stated. Like the poets, the artist “seeks to tease out narratives from history and culture.” The exhibit includes The Last Library, (an ongoing collaboration between Shelley and artist Douglas Paulson), a room sized installation of bookcases and 3,000 books that according to the artists “should have been written, but haven’t.”

Selected poets will be notified by Friday, Jan. 26 and will be invited to read their poem at the Feb. 1 program, which is free and open to the public at the Westport Arts Center, 51 Riverside Avenue. Norwalk Poet Laureate Laurel Peterson and Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County’s David Green will participate in the program, which will include an introduction to the Ward Shelley exhibit.

Ward Shelley’s "What Keeps Mankind Alive" will be on exhibit through March 2 at The Westport Arts Center.

The Westport Arts Center gallery is located at 51 Riverside Avenue in Westport, Conn. For more information, phone (203) 222-7070 or visit

]]> (Westport Arts Center) Local Writers Fri, 05 Jan 2018 06:12:02 -0500
Today in Norwalk: Children’s Author Clare Pernice at Stepping Stones Museum

Children’s author/illustrator Clare Penice visits Stepping Stones Museum for Children (303 West Avenue in Norwalk) on Friday, Jan. 5 from 11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. for a special storytime.

The author will lead the program, “A Day at the Circus,” where she’ll read from the book she penned and illustrated, "Circus Girl," then invite children to create a circus-themed puppet craft. The event will be followed by a book signing. Attendees are invited to come in circus costume.

Born and raised in England, Clare Pernice’s passion for children’s books took root while influenced by Roald Dahl (who visited her school), and her witty story-telling father. Pernice took an avid interest in the world of children’s stories, art and design and graduated from London’s Central Saint Martin’s School of Art. She has since illustrated and exhibited works in Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Charleston and New York. She’s also designed children’s books, clothes, toys and murals, and has created costumes and props for film and stage.

But Pernice’s true love is writing and illustrating picture books, of which "Circus Girl" is her first. "Circus Girl" is the tale of a young girl who morphs into a superstar -- the main attraction in a circus of her own. Pernice’s picture book combines playful text with whimsical watercolor images capturing the girl’s imagination of tumbling, flying, juggling, and spinning across the pages. The little girl’s family of toys help her create a dream-like circus show before she falls fast asleep.

“Circus Girl was inspired by my childhood, my two children, and all the children who love to play dress up and make-believe,” said Pernice.
The the author’s future titles with Simply Read Books include "The Real Mother Goose" and "Adventure Boy," slated for 2018 and beyond.

Pernice lives in Weston, Conn. with her husband, two children and their miniature dachschund, Milo. She’s available for readings/signings and art lessons (privately) or at schools, libraries, canps, bookstores, booutiques and home birthday parties.

For more information about the author illustrator, visit

Photo credit: Regina Tamburro

]]> (Aline Weiller) Authors Fri, 05 Jan 2018 05:59:15 -0500
American Revolution Talk with Eric Chandler at Stratford Library on Jan. 21

The Stratford Library's “Sunday Afternoon Talks,” its free and open to the public monthly series featuring prominent local guest speakers, will be held on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. This month’s topic is “Connecticut During the American Revolution: Provision State & Arsenal of the Revolution” with Eric Chandler. Chandler will present a PowerPoint talk with a Q&A to follow.

Despite being one of the smaller states, Connecticut played an extraordinarily large role in the American War for Independence. Connecticut government, people, industry, and inventiveness helped pave the way to a remarkable victory against the superpower of the 18th Century. But it was not without cost, as Connecticut was repeatedly invaded by British forces during the war. This presentation reviews the importance of Connecticut and those whose actions proved significant during the eight years of conflict.

Speaker Eric Chandler is retired from a 30+ year career as an underwriter for a leading land title insurance company. He has been involved in American Revolutionary War Living History since 1974. He has portrayed infantry, light infantry, whale-boat raider, and mounted and dismounted dragoons. He is currently serving his third term as a member of the Norwalk Historical Commission. His artistic endeavors included writing and recording a comedy CD, and decades as a musician playing the sax in area Rock & Roll and Blues bands. To his credit, or shame, he had his likeness used in an issue of MAD Magazine. Eric is enjoying retirement with his wife, Catherine, taking classes, giving lectures on historical topics and continuing to live history.

The Stratford Library is located at 2203 Main Street in Stratford, Conn. For more information call (203) 385-4162 or visit

Photo: Broadside Soliciting Recruits for the Continental Army, ca. 1775 – Connecticut Historical Society

]]> (Ferguson Library) Clubs Fri, 05 Jan 2018 05:27:34 -0500