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The Aspen Writers’ Foundation has announced the program for its 2006 Winter Words series. The ninth annual series features six events with top writers between January and March.Winter Words opens Jan. 20 at the Given Institute with Charles Mann, award-winning journalist and author of the best-seller “1491,” an examination of the Western hemisphere before Christopher Columbus’ crossing of the Atlantic. Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the memoir “Angela’s Ashes,” appears Jan. 28 at the Wheeler Opera House. McCourt, who was forced to postpone his scheduled appearance at the Aspen Summer Words Literary Festival due to a sudden, and now resolved, health issue, will discuss his forthcoming memoir, “Teacher Man,” about his 30-year career in the New York public schools.Ann Patchett, the PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author of the novel “Bel Canto,” returns to read from her latest book, “Truth & Beauty: A Friendship,” Feb. 15 at the Given Institute. The new memoir documents Patchett’s relationship with fellow writer Lucy Grealy (“Autobiography of a Face”), who died of cancer in 2002. Lorraine Adams, Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent and author of the novel “Harbor,” is set for Feb. 23 at the Given Institute.Kent Haruf, who earned a Colorado Book Award for “Eventide,” the sequel to his National Book Award finalist, “Plainsong,” appears March 4 at the Given Institute. The series closes March 18 at a location to be determined with James Patterson, whose last 17 thrillers – including “Kiss the Girls” and “Mary, Mary” – have topped the New York Times best-seller list.Tickets and season subscriptions for Winter Words go on sale Dec. 1. For further information, visit or call 925-3122.

Theatre Aspen artistic director David McClendon will direct the world premiere of the dark comedy “Jesus Hates Me” for the Denver Center Theatre Company. The play will be staged at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Jan. 19 through March 11. “Jesus Hates Me,” written by Wayne Lemon, will also be the first piece in the DCTC’s Colorado New Play Summit, which is set for Feb. 10-11.McClendon, who has led Theatre Aspen – formerly Aspen Theatre in the Park – for two seasons, has had a long association with the DCTC.Theatre Aspen has also announced some of the casting for its second annual stage production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Adapted from Frank Capra’s classic 1946 film, “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be presented at the Wheeler Opera House Dec. 20-24, with evening performances Dec. 20-23 and 2 p.m. matinees Dec. 21 and 24. Bob Moore, who played the angel Clarence in last year’s production, returns in the role of Uncle Billy. Josh Michaels, who appeared as Harry Bailey last year, is cast this year as Sam Wainwright.Tickets for “It’s a Wonderful Life” go on sale Nov. 15 at the Wheeler box office.For further information on Theatre Aspen, go to

Television critic Davis Blum will be the featured guest on Aspen Media Review on Friday, Nov. 11. The locally produced, half-hour program can be heard every Friday at 11:30 a.m. on KAJX-Aspen Public Radio.Blum, who writes for the New York Sun, joins Aspen Media Review co-hosts John C. Noonan and Brian O’Neill in discussing his new book, “Tick… Tick… Tick… The Long Life and Turbulent Times of ’60 Minutes.'” Blum offers a no-holds-barred view of the cultural institution which has ranked in the top 10 TV shows for 23 seasons and has earned CBS some $2 billion in profits.KAJX can be heard at 91.5 FM in Aspen.

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