Sturbridge, M.A. – Old Sturbridge Village will host three unique and exciting literary events in the month of September. The month will kick off with a talk and book signing with author John Wood Sweet of The Sewing Girls Tale on Sept. 9, followed by a performance by Gerald Dickens, great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens on Sept. 16. It will conclude with a special Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony, honoring Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham on Sept. 30.
The Talk & Book Signing with John Wood Sweet will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Sept. 9 at Ox & Yoke Mercantile at Old Sturbridge Village. Sweet will discuss his work, The Sewing Girl’s Tale, which shares the story of Lanah Sawyer. Based on historical detective work, the story takes readers from a chance encounter on a 1790s New York City street into the squalor of the city’s sexual underworld, the sanctuaries of the elite, and the despair of its debtors’ prison. It reveals how much has changed over the past two centuries in America and how much remains similar to our Revolutionary past.
Sweet is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, and his work has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Institute for Arts and Humanities at UNC, the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale, the McNeil Center at Penn, and the Center for Global Studies in Culture, Power, and History at Johns Hopkins. His first book, Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize.
This Talk & Book Signing event is free and open to the public. Event details can be found at: https://www.osv.org/event/talk-book-signing-with-john-wood-sweet/.
On Sept. 16 at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., Old Sturbridge Village will present two showings of Gerald Dickens One-Man Show: The Signalman & A Child’s Journey. The great-great-grandson of famous author Charles Dickens, Gerald Dickens will present live performances of two works of art: The Signalman, telling the story of a lonely signalman sharing his tale with a complete stranger, and A Child’s Journey with Dickens, written by Kate Douglas Smith Wiggins and telling the tale of a 12-year-old girl and her chance meeting with her literary hero Charles Dickens on a train journey from Portland, M.E. to Boston, M.A.
Each show will be presented in the Stephen M. Brewer Theater in the OSV Visitor Center and run with a 20-30-minute intermission. Pastries, cookies, coffee, tea, beer and wine will be available for purchase in the Oliver Wight Café. Following the performances, Dickens will be available for a meet & greet, offering pictures and autographs.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for member adults, $10 for youth and $8 for member youth. Event details can be found at: https://www.osv.org/event/dickens/.
The month will conclude with the Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony Honoring Jon Meacham, on Sept. 30 at 6:00 p.m. The event will begin with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres under the tent outside of the Oliver Wight Tavern, followed by an 8:00 p.m. award presentation in the Stephen M. Brewer Theater. Attendees will enjoy dessert and coffee following the presentation.
A presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Meacham is regarded as one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals. He is the author of several #1 New York Times bestsellers, and has written acclaimed books about Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, George H.W. Bush, and civil-rights icon John Lewis. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the Society of American Historians, Meacham is a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University, where he holds the Rogers Chair in the American Presidency. His latest book, And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Experiment, will be published in the fall of 2022. He joins the ranks of past Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees, including Norm Abram, Cokie Roberts, John Williams and Tom Brokaw.
Tickets to the event are $200 each. Reservations are required and seating is limited. The deadline to register is Sept. 22. Event details can be found at: https://www.osv.org/event/ken-burns-lifetime-achievement-award-ceremony-honoring-jon-meacham/.