Conference Taps Top Twain Expert

Steve Courtney

Steve Courtney

If there’s anything you want to know about Samuel Langhorne Clemens — better known as Mark Twain — author and journalist Steve Courtney can tell you. And he will, if you sign up for the annual conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists at Hartford, Conn., June 27-30.

As publicist and publications editor at The Mark Twain House & Museum, Courtney is an authority on the 19th-century humorist, lecturer and social critic who spent some of his most productive years as a writer in Hartford.

He will be the official first speaker for the conference, discussing “Hartford: Mark Twain and Other Literary Lights.” Later on Friday, June 28, conferees will embark on a special tour of the Twain House, where Clemens and his family lived from 1874 to 1891.

The Loveliest Home That Ever Was: The Story of the Mark Twain House in HartfordCourtney’s most recent book, published in 2011, is The Loveliest Home That Ever Was: The Story of the Mark Twain House in Hartford, with a foreword by actor Hal Holbrook, who portrayed Twain on the speakers’ circuit.

Courtney won the 2009 Connecticut Book Award, Biography or Memoir, for Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain’s Closest Friend. In the past decade, he has frequently written and spoken on Twichell.

He has been a journalist for 36 years, more than 20 of them at The Hartford Courant, where he held a variety of positions. He was deputy editor of Northeast, the Courant’s Sunday magazine, for five years. He served as president of Sunmag, the national Sunday Magazine Editors Association.

The conference’s Friday afternoon tour, Courtney’s talk and meeting space are being sponsored by The Mark Twain House & Museum. Dinner there is sponsored by Salute of Hartford.

To sign up for the NSNC Hartford conference, please complete this online registration form.

We will be staying at the Hartford Hilton Hotel, which is offering us a special rate of $115 a night. When making reservations, specify “Columnists Conference” to get this rate.

To make room reservations online, please click this special Hilton NSNC link.

More complete details, additional program participants and planned activities will be published in succeeding issues of The e-Columnist newsletter for NSNC members as well as the conference archive list at

Who’s invited? If you’re reading this, you are. Whether you write for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, trade journals or other periodicals or for radio or video … whether you’re on staff, a freelancer, syndicated, self-syndicated or independent. We heartily encourage online and multimedia columnists, bloggers and similar Web reporters, commentators, analysts, humorists and essayists. We welcome retired or former columnists, journalism scholars and collegian columnists. And all those who want to write columns or blogs. … And your guests!

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