Peterborough’s connections to the arts and history will shine over the next few days as the Third International Thornton Wilder Conference brings scholars and theater artists from around the world to our town. The event, being held July 12 – 14, 2018, will feature presentations, panel and roundtable discussions, and readings. Many of the events are open to the public, but there are a limited number of tickets available and reservations are required. (Go to bit.ly/TWConference for information and reservations.)
Thornton Wilder (1897 – 1975) is known as one of America’s most celebrated writers, winning three Pulitzer Prizes for his writing (for novel “The Bridge of San Luis Rey” in 1928, and plays “Our Town” and “The Skin of Our Teeth” in 1938 and 1943), and the U.S. National Book Award for his novel “The Eighth Day” in 1968. Wilder had deep connections to Peterborough and the Monadnock Region. He spent nine summers between 1924 and 1953 as a writer-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony, writing significant parts of his works here including “Our Town” and “The Skin of Our Teeth”. The Colony, founded in 1907, was known to be one of Wilder’s favorite places to work on a novel or play and Peterborough is often cited as one of the major inspirations for the fictional small town of Grover’s Corners. He was awarded the inaugural Edward MacDowell Medal in 1960. And although it is difficult to know for sure, it is even possible that Thornton Wilder stayed in the B&B during his early stays at the Colony. At that time, the home was owned by Marian MacDowell and used as the residence for male Colonists (known as The Mannex).
The conference is co-sponsored by the Thornton Wilder Society, the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, and the Wilder Family. Conference events will take place at The Monadnock Center, 19 Grove Street, Peterborough.
As an added bonus, for those who would like to see one of Wilder’s works on stage, the Peterborough Players are presenting “The Skin of Our Teeth” through July 15, 2018.