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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

‘The Great Gatsby’ is WestportREADS Selection

The Westport Public Library next month marks the 10th anniversary of its WestportREADS program with one of the best known American literary novels of the 20th century—one that also has a Westport connection – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” Image

The library has scheduled numerous events in January and early February as it invites the community to join in reading (or rereading) the work that famously chronicled the Roaring ‘20s.

WestportREADS is an annual program dedicated to strengthening the community through the shared experience of a book or author.

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived in Westport in 1920 in a house near Longshore Club Park on Compo Road South. (See WestportNow Nov. 28, 2004)

To celebrate the Fitzgeralds’ time in Westport, 20 names will be drawn by lottery to attend a talk by former Staples High School English teacher Gerry Kuroghlian at the house where they lived.

The talk, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m., will include light refreshments. fscottfitzgeraldwestport112804260.jpg
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda in front of their Westport house. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Princeton Unversity Library photo

The library said those interested could increase their chances of winning one of the tickets by attending WestportREADS events throughout Jan. Each event will offer an opportunity to enter the drawing.

All programs, with the exception of a culminating fundraising gala on Feb. 9, are open to the public, and some programs require registration at

The events include:

Saturday, Jan. 5, 2 p.m - Flapper Headband Workshop: For teens, middle school and up; register online. McManus Room.

Sunday, Jan.  6, 2 p.m. - F. Scott Fitzgerald and the American Dream: Join Yale College Associate DeanMark Schenker for a nonpolitical consideration of what “The Great Gatsby” continues to tell us about our nation, our history, and ourselves. McManus Room.

Monday, Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m. - From Novel to Opera—Gatsby at The Met: Westport Country Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Lamos directed the opera version of “The Great Gatsby” for The Metropolitan Opera. He will discuss the opera’s libretto, written by John Harbison, and present musical selections from the score. McManus Room.

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m. - WestportREADS Out Loud: You can read “Gatsby” by yourself, or have the first two chapters read aloud to you by a host of local celebrity readers, including Library Director Maxine Bleiweis, sportswriter Frank Deford, and First Selectman Gordon Joseloff. McManus Room.

Thursday, Jan. 10, 10:30 a.m. - Discuss “The Great Gatsby”: Join a discussion of the book that in 1922 F. Scott Fitzgerald announced as “something new—something extraordinary and beautiful, and simple and intricately patterned.” Seminar Room.

Friday, Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m.- WestportREADS and Dances: Learn to dance the Charleston, the Peabody, and the Blackbottom, with Robin and Ed Poska, directors of Ballroom Magic. For adults and teens; partner optional. McManus Room. Register online; $15.

Saturday, Jan. 12, 10 a.m. - Perspectives on “Gatsby”: An intergenerational discussion of “Gatsby” at the Westport Center for Senior Activities, presented by two senior citizens (Sybil Steinberg and Dick Leonard) and two high school seniors.

Saturday, Jan. 12, 2:30 p.m. - Dance Time for Kids—Learn the Charleston: Join the fun as Robin and Ed Poska, directors of the Westport/Weston Cotillion, teach the Charleston to children in grades 2-5. McManus Room. Register online.

Monday, Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m. - Prohibition Takes on the “First National Pastime”: Writer and broadcaster Eric Burns discusses how Prohibition had as much to do with politics, economics, and geography as it did with alcohol consumption. McManus Room.

Tuesday, Jan.  15, 10:30 a.m. - PageTurners Discusses Two “Gatsby”-Related Books: The Library book group PageTurners will discuss two books, “Gatsby’s Girl” by Caroline Preston and “The Perfect Hour: The Romance of F.Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King, His First Love” by James L.W. West, III. Sheffer Reading Room.

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2 p.m. - Film “The Roaring Twenties”: Enjoy the 1939 movie “The Roaring Twenties,” starring Jimmy Cagney and Humphrey Bogart (106 min) McManus Room.

Thursday, Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m. - And All That Jazz!: Todd Bryant Weeks, writer and jazz historian, will celebrate jazz with examples, stories, and a love for the music. McManus Room.

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. - Discuss “The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald”: Discussion of the award-winning mystery by David Handler (see also the Jan.  27 program, when Handler will speak at the Library), Sheffer Reading Room.

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2 p.m. – Film “Midnight in Paris”: Showing of the 2011 movie “Midnight in Paris” (94 minutes). McManus Room.

Sunday, Jan. 27, 2 p.m. - Author Talk: Author David Handler discusses his award-winning mystery “The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald.” McManus Room.

Monday, Jan. 28, 6 p.m. - KIDS—Mysterious Book Society: Discuss “Dave at Nigh”t by Gail Carson Levine. Higgins Room.

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m. - Seminar-Style Discussion of “Gatsby”: UConn Prof. Kathy Knapp, PhD, leads a seminar-style discussion of “The Great Gatsby”, which is the spring 2012 UConn Reads selection. McManus Room.

Saturday, Feb. 2, 4 p.m. - Film “The Great Gatsby”: Enjoy a showing of “The Great Gatsby” starring Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Bruce Dern, and Sam Waterston. Tea will be served at this event (Daisy and Gatsby met at tea), which is $10 per person and co-sponsored by Westport Cinema Initiative. Purchase tickets online at or at the door; an advance reservation is preferred. Note that the location is Christ & Holy Trinity Church.

Saturday, Feb. 9, 7 p.m - Gatsby–Style Party: Enjoy live jazz, swanky cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres, and learn the Charleston.Dress is festive, flapper, or dapper. Purchase tickets online at; $75 per person. For more information, call Cindy Clark, (203)291-4824. Proceeds from the party benefit all library programs.

This year’s WestportREADS is funded by Jerry A. Tishman.


Posted 12/25/12 at 02:57 AM


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