Did you know that the fabled "Jazz Age" writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and his tragic wife, Zelda, shared a house on South Compo Road in Westport in 1920?
Well, 20 winners of a drawing taking place as part of the WestportREADS celebration of "The Great Gatsby" -- sponsored by the Westport Library -- will get to attend a talk about Fitzgerald at the beach house.
"The house has been extensively renovated but the front looks exactly the same as it did then. There's a famous picture of Scott and Zelda in a car and it was taken in front of that house. I had a real goosebump moment when I went there," librarian and event organizer Mary Parmalee said in an interview last week.
WestportREADS is now in its 10th year and involves the selection of one book for a series of programs spanning several weeks.
Events connected to the ongoing discussion of "The Great Gatsby" include Charleston dance lessons and the screening of several films connected with the writer and the Jazz Age.
Jazz writer and musician Todd Bryant Weeks will be discussing the music that fueled the 1920s, and will play examples of it, at the Westport Library on Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Feb. 2, the library and the Westport Cinema Initiative are co-sponsoring a screening of the 1974 film version of "The Great Gatsby," starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, at the Christ and Holy Trinity Church.
A 1920s-style tea service will take place before the movie.
"It has amazed us how perfect the choice of `The Great Gatsby' has been with everything that has been going on in the economy," Parmalee said.
"When the political campaign started -- with all of the talk about `the American Dream' -- we thought, `They're doing our work for us,' " the librarian said of the unexpected thematic publicity for WestportREADS.
The 20 people who will attend the Feb. 2 session will be chosen in a raffle drawn from tickets that will be available at every WestportREADS program between now and then, Parmalee said.
"You can put a ticket in at every event you attend," she added of increasing the odds of winning.
Like the previous nine WestportREADS selections, "The Great Gatsby" was chosen by a committee of library staff members
as well as people from the community.
"We basically sent out a notice to everyone on our email list asking people if they wanted to join us in coming up with a book," Parmalee noted.
"We try to choose something that will lend itself to many different programs and that might have a connection to the Westport community," she said, adding that the fact that the Fitzgeralds once lived in the area made "The Great Gatsby" seem to be a perfect choice this year.
The Westport Public Library, 20 Jesup Road, Westport. Thursday, Jan. 17-Saturday, Feb. 2. Free. 203-291-4800. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.westportlibrary.org.