(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.
“We are thrilled to present the second Berkshire WordFest, and honored to host some of the nation’s finest contemporary writers,” said Susan Wissler, The Mount’s executive director. “For decades, the Berkshire region has been a proud showcase of world-class music, art, theatre, and dance. Since the area has a rich literary heritage as well, we felt it was time to celebrate books, writers, and readers. This lovely property, designed and occupied by Edith Wharton – the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction – is the perfect venue in which to do it.”
“Berkshire WordFest is an exciting addition to this year’s cultural calendar,” said Christine Hensel Triantos, the 2012 festival director. “It creates a terrific opportunity for readers and writers to come together for an intimate ‘literary house party’ at The Mount, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful settings in the Berkshires.”
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.
Berkshire WordFest will also include a lineup of local poets and writers, each of whom will read from published works or works in progress. These readings, which will be free and open to the public, will take place on the terrace throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. These poets and writers include James Arthur, Richard Berlin, Karen Chase, Cassandra Cleghorn, Amy Dryansky, Gerald Elias, Peter Filkins, Cynthia Gardner, Michelle Gillett, Jessica Greenbaum, Daniel Hall, Joshua Henkin, John Hennessy, Susan Kinsolving, Jeffrey Levine, Kevin O’Hara, Lisken Van Pelt Dus, Irene Willis, and Mark Wunderlich.
Tickets for the festival can be purchase online or by phone at 413.551.5100. All-access passes and one-day passes are also available. All-access passes, which afford access to all public events including “Literary Laughs” on Friday night, are $175 ($165 for Mount members). One-day passes, which allow access to all public events on either Saturday or Sunday, are $90 ($85 for Mount members).