(WOODSTOCK, N.Y.) – The 7th annual Woodstock Writers Festival, which takes place primarily at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts and Woodstock Music Lab from Thursday, April 7, through Sunday, April 10, 2016, boasts a lineup abundant in writing talent including Abigail Thomas, Alan Light, Ann Hood, Jamie Brickhouse, Nancy Jo Sales, and Ed Sanders, promising to give attendees an up-close-and-personal experience with those who are shaping the literary world today.
Other writers, editors, and literary personages in attendance giving readings, speaking on panels, and conducting seminars and classes include Tracey Helton Mitchell, Kevin Sessums, Bar Scott, Barney Hoskyns, Robert Burke Warren, Holly George-Warren, Amye Archer, Barbara Bash, Jimmy Buff, Stephen Cope, Billie Chernicoff, Beverly Donofrio, Carla Goldstein, Owen Gleiberman, James Grissom, Robert Kelly, Lynn Johnston, Mary Norris, Maggie Mitchell, Christa Parravani, Tamas Panitz, Gunilla Norris, Helen Klein Ross, Sophie Strand, Ginger Strand, Kitty Sheehan, Brandon Tomassetti, Gail Straub, Warren Zanes, and Sunil Yapa.
A Friday night panel on Addiction features Tracey Helton Mitchell, Jamie Brickhouse and Kevin Sessums. Saturday panels include “Trilogy: Spirituality, Writing and Creativity,” a fiction panel called “What If?,” and a poetry panel called “Places in Our Poems.” The Saturday evening keynote interview features Nancy Jo Sales in conversation with Carla Goldstein. Sunday events include breakfast with Abigail Thomas and Bar Scott and biography and memoir panels.
The four-day, three-night festival draws over 1,000 people to the Hudson Valley each year. Launched in 2010 by a group of writers, including executive director Martha Frankel, the festival also begat Woodstock Writers Radio, the wildly successful weekly companion show that airs Sundays from 6am to 7am on Radio Woodstock 100.1, also available online.
It is, in fact, via Woodstock Writers Radio through which Martha Frankel says she’s been able to grow the Festival in leaps and bounds each year. “The access that I have to writers is just unbelievable, and when I tell interviewees that the radio show is part of a larger mission – the Woodstock Writers Festival – well, it’s always a home run. I have authors asking to appear at the festival, because they know this is the kind of contact with readers that one only dreams about.”
Speaking to some of the highlights of the festival, Frankel says she is truly excited about so many scheduled events, including bestselling memoirist Christa Parravani’s Friday workshop, “Writing About Grief.” Parravani first appeared at the festival as a memoir panelist in 2014 and was so thrilled by her experience that she agreed to come back as teacher.
Says Parravani, in promoting her workshop, “You know what I want? I want a room full of people who are chasing words instead of fame, to create a place to write until that writing is bigger than a lived loss; because what is universal is nourishing and real and cutting and less concerned with the self. This writing can reach so far beyond the ‘I’ that our arms can circle the world. I hope you’ll be there. Let’s do this.”
Likewise, Frankel is excited to present the panel on Addiction as a cornerstone festival event. “It’s such a timely and important subject, all over the news nationwide. But we’re able to put another ‘face’ or angle on the disease of addiction – a literary perspective. These authors have written three spectacular books and I can’t wait to hear what they have to share with us, unabashed and so real in their honest journeys back from hell.”
The Thursday evening kickoff event, the Festival Story Slam – which is open to all storytellers or spectators as space permits – has a particularly poignant bent this year, as the themed event celebrates the life of iconic Woodstock resident David Bowie, with the line “We Can Be Heroes, Just For One Day,” required for all of the three-minute story submissions.