by Kelly Seiz
This year’s Woodstock Writers Festival features reading, writing, and regaling with some of the biggest names in literature in and around the Hudson Valley from March 19 to March 22.
A few of the featured authors include local luminaries like Elisa Albert, Lisa A. Phillips (who we profiled following the publication of her latest book, Unrequited), and Martha Frankel, the executive director of the Woodstock Writers Festival.
Other big-name authors and panelists include Benoit Denizet-Lewis, author of Travels With Casey and the New York Times Magazine article “My Ex-Gay Friend,” which is being modified for a film starring James Franco, Emma Roberts, and Zachary Quinto. Joe Donahue of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, will be conducting his annually sold-out event, “The Donahue Interview,” with Abigail Thomas, whose new book, What Comes Next and How to Like It , we reviewed this month.
The four-day festival begins Thursday evening with a story slam sponsored by Inkubate, an online B2B platform for writers, agents, editors, and publishers. This year’s theme is based on co-founder Stacy Clark’s children’s book on renewable energy, When the Wind Blows. Each story has to include the book’s title in one way or another.
The schedule revolves around the intensive full-day workshops held from 9am-5pm on Friday. With six options to choose from, attendees can dedicate their day to learning about building their social media platforms, writing memoirs, bringing fiction to fruition, writing for an audience, combining fact and fiction in life stories, and getting published with Kitty Sheehan, Beverly Donofrio, Ann Hood, Bar Scott, Gail Straub, and Lynn Johnston, respectively.
After an 8 hour work day, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served at “Little Bites and Big Libations,” in which the festival website promises “a possible lampshade on the head” at the Mountain View Studio.
Saturday kicks off a series of five hour-and-a-half panels, culminating in “The Donahue Interview” with Abigail Thomas at 8pm, its atmosphere influenced by a second preceding “Little Bites and Big Libations” at 6 pm.
Sunday’s more relaxed, starting with a 9:30am breakfast with NPR’s James Kunstler followed by a biography panel from 11:30am-1pm. The festival wraps up with their signature “Memoir A Go-Go” panel moderated by executive director Martha Frankel.
For more information on this year’s festivities, visit the Woodstock Writers Festival website. Woodstockwriters.com.