ESPN sportswriter and Baseball Hall of Famer Claire Smith (left) interviews Boston Red Sox player Mike Cameron (right), May 22, 2011. photo: Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images
(c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2020/2021
Connecticut was (and still is) home to many famous writers. The homes of two of them, Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, are now museums that you can visit.
Writers write for different reasons. Mark Twain loved to tell stories. But he also wrote to make money. It was his profession. People still love his books today. He is most famous for his humor writing and for his book about the adventures of a boy named Huckleberry Finn.
Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote to make money, too. But she is best known for writing a book that changed people’s minds about something she felt was wrong: slavery. Her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin did change people’s minds. President Abraham Lincoln was happy to meet her. Legend has it that he said her book helped start the Civil War! The Civil War ended slavery in the United States.
Venture Smith is not famous and some might not call him a writer. But he told his life story to a friend who wrote it down for him. His memoir was published in New London in 1798, and you can still read it today. He told the important story of how he went from being a slave to being a successful farmer and businessman. He said how important freedom was to him.
Claire Smith is a journalist. She writes about sports. In 2017, Smith won an award for best sports writer from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. She got her start writing for The Hartford Courant in 1983. The newspaper assigned her to write about the Yankees baseball team. There was a problem, though. The baseball players didn’t want her in the locker room after games. She needed to talk to the players to get her story. She said, “I love what I’m doing so I’m going through that door again and I’m going to keep going through that door because nobody is going to stop me from doing what I love.” She now works for television sports network ESPN based in Bristol, Connecticut.
There are many kinds of writers. Some like to tell a good story. Some want to change people’s minds—or both! Their writing ends up in books and newspapers, on websites, or on the stage. Writing is everywhere! What stories will you write?
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