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American Queen cruise highlights Mark Twain

American Queen cruise highlights Mark Twain
The American Queen Steamboat Co. will highlight Mark Twain on an August voyage that includes a tour of the author's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, lectures by historians and special appearances by tribute artist Lewis Hankins.

The nine-day voyage sails Aug. 22 and includes a pre-cruise hotel stay in St. Louis.

The Mississippi River played a major influence in Twain's work, from his days as a riverboat pilot to stories like 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.'

On-board presentations by Cindy Lovell, executive director of the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, and Henry Sweets, executive director of Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, Hannibal, include 'Life on the Mississippi,' an interactive session including highlights of Twain's time on the river, a reading from the book and a 'lightning round' of Mississippi River Jeopardy.

'Mark Twain Today: His Relevance and Reach,' will discuss what recently made Smithsonian magazine dub Mark Twain as the No. 1 influence in pop culture. Other presentations will delve into Hannibal's history, events from Twain's childhood that made it into 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' and a question and answer session with Lovell, Sweets and Hankins.

A tour of Hannibal on the 'Twainland Express' is included, and American Queen's ensemble cast will present a musical matinee on board evoking 'Life on the Mississippi.'