TWAINFEST

Co-creator with Write Out Loud

In 2010 I joined with Walter Ritter and Veronica Murphy to create what is now the largest FREE literary festival in San Diego.  2019 will be its 10th year.


It's a one-day event that celebrates Mark Twain and his 19th century contemporaries with more than two dozen readings, performances, music, games and special events.  For every event a festival-goer participates in they receive a ticket.  The can exchange every 5 tickets they collect for any book in the Twainfest Book Emporium. 


Here's a list of carnival-like games and performances based on literary themes that I created for Twainfest. 


  • THE QUOTATION MACHINE: Deposit any question into the machine and Mark Twain will answer with sage advice.
  • TELEGRAPH CRUNCH.  Learn how to text in the time of Twain.
  • CHORTLE THIS! Honoring Lewis Carol, festival-goers create new words where only definitions exist.
  • NEVER-ENDING STORY: Prompted by an opening paragraph in "Adventure," "Mystery," and "Gothic Horror" genres, festival-goers add their own creative juices to keep the story going.
  • WHEEL OF FICTION: Festivals-goers vie to fill in missing words from 19th century novels and poems.
  • ELECTION of 1872:  Vote in the Presidential election between Ulysses S. Grant and New York World publisher Horace Greeley.  All you have to do is pass literacy test.
  • CALAVERAS JUMPING FROG: From a special catapult, you can send beanbag frogs flying into buckets.  A tribute to the frontier article that made Twain famous.
  • TWAINFEST GAZETTE: Reporters are recruited to sniff out the news for a second edition. 
  • GREAT MOON HOAX of 1835: a lecture on the series of satirical articles that saved the New York Sun from failure when the public accepted them as true. Twainfest-goers then had a chance to compete with their own hoax news stories.
  • DR. TODD MEDICINE SHOW: With his "Elixir of the Muse" you can purchase a bottle of the essence of your favorite author.  Guaranteed to unblock creative constipation.
  • FRANKENSTEIN'S LABORATORY: Though Viktor Frankenstein never revealed the secret,  festival-goers are invited to try to recreate the experiment that infused life in the moribund.
  • MADAME CAPRELL'S SEANCE: The bedridden medium connects you with the spirit of the famous departed.
  • CELESTINE DE LA NOIR: using specially designed 19th century imagery, Celestine reveals your past, present and future.

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The Quotation Machine

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Never-Ending Story

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Wheel of Fiction

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Election of 1872

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Calaveras Jumping Frog

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Twainfest Gazette

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Dr. Todd Medicine Show

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Frankenstein's Laboratory

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Madame Caprell's Seance

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Celestine de la Noir

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Rocket to the Moon

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Planned for 2019 Twainfest's 10th anniversary.  Honoring science fiction of the 19th century and before. It's an adventure you don't want to miss.

CLICK ON ROCKET IMAGE for details.

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