(LENOX, Mass.) – Over a dozen nationally acclaimed writers, including John Berendt, Adam Gopnik, Heidi Julavits, Matthew Pearl, Francine du Plessix Gray, Dani Shapiro, Claire Messud, and poet Mary Jo Salter among them, are slated to participate in Berkshire WordFest 2012, to be held at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s historic estate in Lenox, during the weekend of September 14-16, 2012. The second annual literary festival will include panels, interviews, public conversations and many free readings by writers and poets with ties to the Berkshire region.
About twenty nationally acclaimed writers and a renowned poet will speak at Berkshire WordFest in a “Main Stage” lineup over the course of the festival weekend. Speakers include: John Berendt, author of the bestselling books Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The City of Falling Angels; New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik; bestselling novelist Matthew Pearl; novelist Heidi Julavits; journalist Kate Bolick; fiction writer and Wharton scholar Roxana Robinson; novelist Megan Abbott; novelist Jonathan Santlofer; novelist and memoirist Dani Shapiro; novelist Alexander Chee; author Suketu Mehta; novelist Claire Messud; writer Mary Morris; fiction writer Elissa Schappell; Nancy Novogrod, editor in chief of Travel + Leisure magazine; writer Francine du Plessix Gray; Noreen Tomassi, executive director for the Center for Fiction; writer, editor, and translator Harold Augenbraum; author and foreign correspondent Anne Garrels; and writer, actress, and comedian Alison Larkin. The featured poet will be Mary Jo Salter, whose reading on Saturday afternoon will be free and open to the public.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – MCLA Presents!, a performance series of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), will kick off its 2012-13 season on Saturday, September 15, 2012, at 3 p.m. in the MCLA Quad with Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez and his Afro-Cuban/Afro-Beat Band. Deeply rooted in Afro-Cuban Rumba tradition, Martinez and his ensemble will bring a new mix of music to campus with bata rhythms and vocal chants of the music of Yoruba and Santeria.
A native of Havana, Martinez is a conga player, singer and bandleader who tours with artists such as the Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles. According to Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA, the College wanted to bring Martinez to MCLA to welcome students back to campus while, at the same time, celebrating Hispanic Heritage month with members of the greater community.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Acclaimed singer-songwriter Dar Williams performs at Club Helsinki Hudson on Thursday, September 13, 2012, at 8 p.m. Williams is known for her incisive story-songs; her strongly drawn characters; her portrayals of contemporary women’s lives and struggles; and her deft twists of phrase. Her recordings and occasional choice of cover songs (the Kinks; Neil Young; Pink Floyd; David Bowie) also betray that bubbling below the surface of the ostensibly new-folk singer-songwriter lurks the heart and soul of a chick-rocker.
“With the possible exception of Suzanne Vega, I can’t think of another folk singer-songwriter who has written more tunes that are as catchy and memorable as Dar Williams,” says longtime rock critic and singer-songwriter specialist Seth Rogovoy, author of Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet. “Dar Williams’s catalog includes at least a dozen songs that could have – indeed, should have, been pop hits.” Rogovoy rattles off a list: “Alleluia,” “As Cool As I Am,” “Are You Out There,” “I Won’t Be Your Yoko Ono,” “Buzzer,” “Go to the Woods,” and “End of the Summer.”
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Filmmaker Patrick Wang will attend a screening of his recent critically-acclaimed film, In the Family, about a six-year-old boy who has been raised by two fathers, and take part in a post-screening discussion, at TSL in Hudson on Saturday, September 15, 2012, at 8 p.m. The film will also be shown on Sunday, September 16 at 6pm and Sunday, September 23 at 6pm.
In the town of Martin, Tenn., Chip Hines, a precious six year old, has only known life with his two dads, Cody and Joey. When Cody dies suddenly in a car accident, Joey and Chip struggle to find their footing again. Just as they begin to move forward, Cody’s will reveals that he named his sister as Chip’s guardian. The years of Joey’s acceptance into the family unravel as Chip is taken away from him. In a heartfelt story woven around child custody, “two-Dad” families, parental loss, interracial relations, the American South, and the human side of the law, the nature of what it means to be in a family is explored with ambitious and rewarding nuance.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sonia Nazario, a graduate of neighboring Williams College one town over in Williamstown, will speak at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) about her book, Enrique’s Journey, on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, at 7 p.m., in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium. Enrique’s Journey is the 2012 summer reading assignment for all incoming MCLA students, required as part of the First Year Experience courses this fall. The event is free and open to the public.
Enrique’s Journey, the story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the United States, has won more than a dozen awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, the George Polk Award for International Reporting, the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence.