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Barbara McConnell

Asilomar Weekend

April 12-14, 2024

One of the major events of the year for the Great Books Council of San Francisco is the spring weekend at the Asilomar Conference Center in Monterey, California, titled The Barbara McConnell Weekend at Asilomar in honor of a beloved Great Books leader. During the weekend there are discussions of poetry, a work of nonfiction, a work of theatre and a work of fiction. The beauty of the area is conducive to stimulating discussions and convivial parties.


We return to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula each spring to immerse ourselves in a weekend of provocative readings, engaging discussions and in-person camaraderie!

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The Barbara McConnell Great Books Weekend at Asilomar will be from April 12-14, 2024.


This year we'll again discuss controversial yet timely works and poetry selections that span centuries of writing but explore enduring issues. 


Once again, this year, we'll offer special pricing and discounts. 


To register for the event, please click here:

Event Registration

Also, here's a flyer with information about the weekend:

Event Flyer

We'll kick off the Asilomar weekend with an evening of intense and challenging poetry discussions featuring works by UK poets Wilfred Owen and Virginia Woolf along with US poets Louise Glück and Thomas Centolella.

On Saturday morning, we’ll continue with our non-fiction discussion—Virginia Woolf’s provocative and serious treatise on the prevention of war and the introduction of feminism, Three Guineas, is as relevant today as it was on the eve of WWII. From the New Yorker - If you are a woman or anti-war or both, read it!

The weekend's fiction discussion, C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, is a brilliant retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche from her sister Orual’s perspective. His last and considered by many to be his most accomplished work brought new meaning, new depths, new terrors according to The Saturday Review.


Wrapping up on Sunday morning, our play this year is A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. Written in 1879, it has been praised for its groundbreaking depiction of a woman’s personal struggle for independence and identity, causing noted critic James Huneker to write - That slammed door reverberated across the roof of the world.​


During Asilomar weekends in recent years we've discussed the plays Nathan the WiseLysistrataW;tThe Possessed, and The Iceman Cometh; works of fiction The God of Small Things, Letters From the EarthNever Let Me Go, Miguel Street, and The Left Hand of Darkness; and nonfiction works by Ayn Rand, Azar Nafisi; Machiavelli, C.P. Snow, and W.E.B. Du Bois; as well as selected poetry. To see a full list of what's been discussed during our 50+ years at Asilomar, please click this past discussion list

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