The legendary Woodstock music festival isn’t the only local happening celebrating a big birthday this year. March 28-31, the Woodstock Book Festival will toast to 10 years with a weekend-long gathering of literary minds.
This event had humble beginnings as a Writers Festival, when local literary luminaries came together to put on a play. Over time, the event organizers realized that they were limiting the Festival’s reach. So in 2016, they opened it up to everyone—authors, aspiring writers, readers, students, closet bookworms. Over 1,100 people joined the gathering that year, and the event has since been known as the Woodstock Bookfest.
“I don’t think the smart money was on us making it to 10 years,” Frankel admits. “And I don’t think anyone was quite prepared for how much work it would be. But we do have a blast.”
This year’s Festival offers four jam-packed days of panels, intensives, story slams, and parties, kicking off Thursday night with the Story Slam at Bearsville Theater. Highlights among these include Frankel’s popular “Memoir a GoGo” panel and a spirituality panel moderated by Gail Staub. Edgar Award nominee Alison Gaylin will host a Mystery Panel with Frankie Bailey and Marlene Adelstein. WAMC radio host Joe Donahue will sit down with National Book Award winner Sigrid Nunez, and Bard College Literature Professor Joseph Luzzi will present “What Presidents Read.” Looking to bring a variety of new voices to the forefront of discussions, the Bookfest is still in the midst of finalizing some of its panels. “The variety has grown, but more would be even better,” says Frankel.
Buy your tickets for individual events and workshops, or spring for the full festival pass ($250), which includes access to all programming except the one-day and mini intensives. If you’re looking to sharpen your writing skills, opt for The Whole Shebang ($450), which full festival access plus a one-day intensive writing workshop of your choice.