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Hartford, Harriett Beecher Stowe Garden of Literacy

April 20

The 2024 Earth Day weekend sees our Garden of Literacy, celebrating nature, gardens, and the Spring season. We welcome all community members and visitors to join us at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center for a family friendly day of giveaways, workshops, and a special children’s tour.

To get ready for gardening season, we will give away seeds and plant starts, have gardening experts on hand to talk about the Stowe Center’s award-winning gardens, as well as share gardening advice for home gardeners and aspiring home gardeners. On exhibit in the Day House will be Collections items that highlight plants and nature: such as Stowe’s paintings, scrap books, and sketch books. Writing workshops in the afternoon will that take inspiration from nature and natural elements will be offered, as well as drop-in writing sessions. In the evening, workshop participants, writers, and spoken word artists of all types are welcome to join in and all genres are encouraged to participate!

This Community Day will see the beginning of our public children’s tour and story hour from 2:00 – 3:00 pm, which will be offered regularly on the 3rd Saturday each month through the summer.

12:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Open Grounds

Grounds Activities: outside activities including hula hoops, bubbles, a Drop-in Poetry and Writing table, and additional games! These grounds activities will be available for all until 5:00 pm.

1:00 pm | Writing Workshops

Poetry Workshop: hosted by Versatile in the Day House (1:00 pm – 2:30/3:00 pm)

Limit of 12 people max
$35 per person


Sci-Fi Writing Workshop: hosted by Brenna in the Stowe House (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm)

*Participants are unable to join the Children’s Reading Circle and Stowe House tour if attending

Limit of 12 people max

$35 per person


2:00 pm – 3:00 pm | Children’s Activities 

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm| Children’s Reading Circle

Children and families are invited for a storytelling reading, The Lorax!

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm | Children’s Stowe House Tour

Open to all ages, this tour is accessible for young children to learn about history and the movements of resistance from the 19th century to today.

5:00 – 7:00 pm | Open Mic

This space is welcome to all artists and encourages workshop participants to share the work they just created. Food will be provided.

Saturday, April 20th

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm *

* This workshop will miss the Children’s Tour starting at 3:00 pm

Max limit: 12 people | REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Cost: $35 per person

Though fantasy, horror, and science fiction are all distinct genres, they are united under the umbrella of “speculative fiction:” stories where the impossible suddenly becomes possible.

Works of speculative fiction often make predictions about the future or immerse their readers in entirely new worlds. But speculative fiction has also been used by many authors to comment on the social and political realities of the present. Writers have used speculative stories to consider ethical problems, to confront fears about social and technological change, and to critique systems of inequality such as classism, sexism, racism, colonialism, homophobia, and ableism.

In this 3-hour writing workshop, we will explore how we can use elements of speculative fiction to craft engaging, emotionally powerful stories that also function as thought-provoking social commentary. We will begin by discussing the short fiction of speculative writers such as Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury, and Ken Liu. We will also work to craft our own original “novum,” or a fantastical story element that places a narrative outside the limits of strict realism. We will then learn the art of “mind mapping” stories, a process that allows us to anchor a novum in an engaging setting with rich characters and a compelling plot. Throughout our time together we will also discuss the power of fiction to help us build a better, more just world. As the writer and activist Walidah Imarisha once said: “Any time we try to envision a different world – without poverty, prisons, capitalism, war – we are engaging in science fiction.”





April 20, 2024

Nature and Nurture:

How Nature Nurtures Our Creativity and Inspires Poetry

Saturday, April 20th

1:00 pm – 2:30/3:00 pm

Day House Back Parlour

Max limit: 12 people | REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Cost: $35 per person

Please join poet, spoken word artist, and educator Versatile Poetiq on April 20 in a fun natural poetry workshop to celebrate. In the Nurture and Nature workshop, participants will explore Nature and Poetry.

What is Nature? What is Poetry? Why are they significant? How do they coexist?

We will have a discussion and then explore various writing prompts. We will then write for 25 minutes and then those who would like to can share their work in a supportive setting. Together, the group will offer positive feedback to those who share. Participants are welcome choose more than one writing prompt to brainstorm or focus on one piece to develop.




Harriett Beecher Stowe Center
77 Forest St
Hartford, CT 06105 United States
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(860) 522-9258
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