2013 Berkshire Festival of Women Writers Begins – The Complete Schedule

BOSFest2013_edited-1

Berkshire Festival of Women Writers

Schedule of Events 2013

Laundry Line Divine presents: Out of the Mouths of Babes ~ March 1, 2013

Friday, March 1
Laundry Line Divine presents:
Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others
Hosted by Suzi Banks Baum and Gina Hyams with special guest Susan Engel, author and professor at Williams College
Featuring readings by Suzi Banks Baum, Alana Chernila, Nichole Dupont, Janet Reich Elsbach, Michelle Gillett, and Jenny Laird

Celebrating the book launch of An Anthology of Babes: 35 Women Give Motherhood a Voice.

Dewey Hall, Sheffield, 7–9: 30 p.m.
$5 suggested donation

Returning this year after a standing-room-only premiere at last year’s Festival, “Out of the Mouths of Babes” offers readings from six Berkshire women authors, ranging from a young single mother to a mother of adult children. Join us to be entertained, challenged, echoed, and encouraged. Favorite bedtime snacks will be served at intermission, and following the readings, special guest Susan Engel will join writer and editor Gina Hyams and Suzi Banks Baum in a discussion of motherhood and creativity.


Suzi Banks Baum, by Christina Lane Photography

Suzi Banks Baum, an artist, writer, and full-time mom, can be found creating community wherever she goes. While writing her first book, Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers, Suzi discovered the vital voices of mothers who make art while raising children. Suzi is a theater professional, group facilitator, mixed-media collage artist, and mother of two teens. She lives in Berkshire County.   laundrylinedivine.com

Alana Chernila writes, cooks, sells fresh vegetables, and teaches kids to cook. She created the blog Eating from the Ground Up in 2008. Alana is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe and lives with her husband and two young daughters in Great Barrington, MA, where she is a selectman. Alana’s first book, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, was published by Clarkson Potter in spring 2012.  www.eatingfromthegroundup.com


Nichole Dupont i
s a freelance writer and editor based in Sheffield, MA. A native of the Berkshires and a fourth-generation logger, she has cultivated a passion for food, farming, and community. Her work has appeared in NewsdayBerkshire Magazine, the Advocate Weekly, and Rural Intelligence, where she is an associate editor. She also writes for the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. Sometimes she reads poetry in public, fishes for stripers in the Atlantic, and roller-skates. A former literature teacher and observer of people, she has written short stories. She also maintains a blog about the snarkier side of rural feminism and single motherhood.   www.ruralintelligence.com

Janet Reich Elsbach is a mother of three. Her interests include: what to have for dinner tonight; what to have for dinner tomorrow; whether her children are rested, fed, and encouraged; getting out of the grocery store with as little plastic packaging material as possible; and saving the bees, the oceans, and the last vestiges of true democracy. With her husband, the artist Bart Elsbach, she is managed by a small sheep farm. She writes about all of this when she can stay awake long enough.   raisinporpoise.blogspot.com

Michelle Gillett has been a regular op-ed columnist for the Berkshire Eagle for over twenty years. An award-winning poet, she was a longtime contributing editor to the former Women’s Times. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, OrionSanctuary, Art of the Times, and other publications. Her works include A Kitchen Gardener’s Cookbook; a collection of essays entitled In Celebration of Motherhood; and two collections of poetry, Rock & Spindle, a letterpress chapbook published by Mad River Press, and Blinding the Goldfinches, published in 2005 and chosen by Hayden Carruth as winner of the Backwaters Poetry Prize. She received her MFA from Warren Wilson College and a BS from Skidmore College. Michelle lives in Stockbridge, MA.   www.gillettandryan.com

Gina Hyams is the author of eight books on various confounding subjects and creator of the “In a Box” cooking contest series of book-kits for pie, chili, and Christmas cookies. She lives in Housatonic with her family. ginahyams.com


Jenny Laird
was a longtime Chicago Playwright and Arts Advocate before settling in the Berkshires. She is the author of several award-winning plays: Ballad Hunter (Chicago’s Cunningham Prize for Playwriting), Sky Girls (NEA Distinguished New Play Grant, Selma Melvoin New Play Award), and Only the Sound (Illinois Arts Council Grant, Chicago’s Jeff Award for Outstanding New Work, 2002). With her husband, composer Randy Courts, Jenny is currently adapting a series of musicals based on The Magic Tree House books for Music Theatre International’s Broadway Junior Collection. When she is not writing plays, she is busy running an intensive home-based play therapy program for her wondrous son, Quinn. Ballad Hunter at Amazon

Saturday, March 2

Why Sedna Matters to Women Writers

Led by Mary Kate Jordan
Mason Library, Great Barrington, 10 a.m.–noon

Sedna, an ancient Inuit archetype, gave her name to a planetary body discovered in 2003. Sedna’s story matters to women who honor—or would like to honor—the rich possibilities of their own life stories. Women who like to get beneath the surface of things with words will find Sedna’s assistance invaluable. In this morning of storytelling followed by a Q&A, we’ll explore aspects of Sedna’s silent presence among us. We’ll discover that myth accompanies meaning at the deepest levels and experience why the deepest levels of meaning are called mythic. We’ll invite ourselves and our writing into the shamanic depths where ancient mystery and contemporary science merge into story.

Mary Kate Jordan is the author of The Bridge Called Grief, a book-length photo essay on loss, grief, and the hope of renewal. She lives in Monterey, MA, and takes photos both at home and away.  thejordancenter.com

Saturday, March 2
Women of a Certain Age
Reading hosted by Sonia Pilcer, with Allyson Dinneen, Barbara Janoff, Susie Kaufman, Ellen Meeropol, and Lee Schwartz

Mason Library, Great Barrington, 1–3 p.m.

Perhaps age and experience give us the courage to express things we kept under wraps when we were younger. Certainly our writing skills improve with time, as does the desire to say the unsaid. Come and hear a group of older women writers share their passions and what they know. There will be a discussion and Q&A afterward. Come and join the dialogue.

Novelist, playwright, and poet Sonia Pilcer began publishing novels in her twenties. She has taught for many years at the Writers Voice in Manhattan and at Berkshire Community College. Her books include Teen Angel, Maiden Rites, Little Darlings, I-Land: Manhattan Monologues, and The Holocaust Kid. She will be reading from her new novel, The Last Hotelwww.soniapilcer.com

Allyson Dinneen has a BA in environmental science and an MA in family therapy. She is at work on a semiautobiographical novel. She has always been attracted to the mysterious, both in nature and in family life. She lives in Housatonic, MA, with her two youngest children.

Barbara Janoff’s essays and poetry are published in Columbia: A Women’s Journal, Communication Arts, the Berkshire Review, and by Allworth Press. She is an associate professor of English at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, which has granted her a sabbatical next semester to explore themes of grief and recovery in her writing.  Fashion Institute of Technology

Susie Kaufman’s spiritual writing has appeared in the Jesuit magazine America, as well as in Presence, the quarterly journal of Spiritual Directors International. She recently won second prize in the New Marlboro Mystery Writer’s Contest. “Man About Town” is a version of a chapter from a novel she was working on in 2002. Another chapter of the same work was published in Lilith.

Ellen Meeropol’s writing explores characters at the intersection of political turmoil, ethical dilemma, and family life. Publishers Weekly gave her debut novel, House Arrest, a starred review, calling it “thoughtful and tightly composed, unflinching in taking on challenging subjects and deliberating uneasy ethical conundrums.”    www.ellenmeeropol.com

Lee Schwartz is a two-time winner of the Allen Ginsberg Award. Lee has been a Poet in Residence at the 92nd St Y, and read with Allen Ginsberg at NYC’s St. Mark’s Church, Billy Collins at the Bowery Poetry Club, and local poets at the Mill River General Store. This spring she will be mounting a takeoff on Brecht/Weill entitled The Two and a Half Penny Occupy Opera.

Getting Married and Other Mistakes ~ March 2, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013
Getting Married and Other Mistakes
Reading with Barbara Slate, graphic novelist
The Bookstore, Lenox, 4–5:30 p.m.

Barbara Slate will be reading from her semiautobiographical graphic novel, Getting Married and Other Mistakes (Other Press, 2012), the story of a woman who trusted everybody’s voices except her own. Ms. Slate will talk about her career in the fiercely male-dominated, super-spandexed world of comic books and how, by being the voice for Barbie, Betty, Veronica, Angel Love, Pocahontas, and many more, she was able to get her own voice heard. Barbara’s tale begins in the early ’70s with her creation of Ms. Liz, the first feminist greeting card.    www.barbaraslate.com

Barbara Slate has written over three hundred comic books and graphic novels for DC, Marvel, Archie, and Disney. She is profiled in the seminal work A Century of Women Cartoonists. Barbara teaches the art of the graphic novel in schools and libraries, using her critically acclaimed textbook You Can Do a Graphic Novel. (at Amazon)

Made in the Berkshires presents: Exquisite Dilemmas: Women and Choices ~ March 2, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013
Made in the Berkshires presents:
Exquisite Dilemmas: Women and Choices
Hosted by Hilary Somers Deely and Barbara Sims, featuring Sally-Jane Heit, Susan Merrill, and Joy Spivak
Unicorn Theater, Stockbridge, 7:30 p.m.
$20 admission to benefit the 2013 Made in the Berkshires Festival
For tickets, contact the Colonial Theatre box office at (413) 997-4444

Choice: n. the act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. adj. of very good quality

Join us as we eavesdrop on women who are exploring the exquisite dilemma of choosing how to live their lives. You’ll go from glee to sorrow and back again with Before I Forget, a delicious look at one woman’s life, loves, and losses, written and performed by Sally-Jane Heit with music by Uel Wade. We’ll reprise the 2012 Made in the Berkshires audience favorite The Rabbi Auditions, by Joy Spivak, in which the temple’s three-person search committee kvells, kvetches, and finally chooses a new rabbi. And we’ll round out the evening with humor, insight and personal recollections from Susan Merrill, the Berkshires’ favorite storyteller.

Made in the Berkshires is a locally grown festival of new works including theatre, film, dance, poetry, music, short stories, performance, and visual art, under the aegis of the Berkshire Theatre Group.

Hilary Somers Deely is co-curator of Made in the Berkshires. An actress, director, and producer, Hilary has headed three academic theater programs in independent schools and is an emeritus member of the Berkshire Theatre Festival board and a member of the advisory board for the Berkshire Fringe. Most recently, she joined the Fringe in its artists’ residency at Mass MOCA in a world premiere production of The Waypoint. She has voiced three roles in Gregory Whitehead’s BBC 4 radio plays; stage managed and acted in several productions at Joan Ackerman’s Mixed Company; coproduced the third year of Ten Minutes in the Berkshires; directed an Equity touring Company of My Children, My Africa; and has appeared in staged productions at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and the Runway Theatre in Grapevine, TX.   www.madeintheberkshires.org

Barbara Sims is co-curator of Made in the Berkshires and was a co-producer for the Free Concerts in Lilac Park series in 2010 and 2011. Her theater credits include A Streetcar Named Desire with Natasha Richardson and Noises Off with Patti LuPone on Broadway. Her Off-Broadway roles include the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Entertaining Mr. Sloane, with Alec Baldwin; Juno and the Paycock; Arms and the Man, directed by Roger Rees at Circle in the Square Theatre; The Hope Zone, with Olympia Dukakis; and Trip to Bountiful, with Ellen Burstyn. She has also performed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Shakespeare & Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, and the Houston Shakespeare Festival. Her film and TV credits include Law & Order: SVU; Guiding Light; PBS’s End of the Line; and Cornflower Blue.   www.madeintheberkshires.org

Sally-Jane Heit grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and trained at the High School of Performing Arts, Hunter College, and Yale Drama School. After raising three daughters in Washington, DC, she moved to New York and was cast in Michael Bennett’s Broadway musical Ballroom. Her impressive list of professional credits includes theater, television, and film. It was an inspired encounter with Lily Tomlin that ignited the passion that has evolved into her latest production, Before I Forget . . . A Musical Memoirwww.sallyjaneheit.com

Painter and writer Susan Merrill has exhibited her paintings in numerous local venues, including, for the past five years, an annual solo show of farm animal paintings at Hancock Shaker Village. Over the years she has written and read aloud many short stories at many different events. In 2011 she published a novel, Warm Morning, about growing up in a magic house on a Maryland farm. A companion piece, Cool Evening, about a house in Massachusetts, is in the works. She lives in Stockbridge, MA, with her husband, set designer and art director Carl Sprague, and their two children. susanmerrill.com

Prior to playwriting, Joy Spivak made records and performed in Las Vegas, writing her own shows and comedy. She later changed careers, becoming the second female police officer in New Jersey. She and her husband, Jerry, reside in Naples, FL, and West Stockbridge, MA.

Berkshire Magazine presents: Women Writers and the Role of the Editor ~ March 3, 2013

Sunday, March 3
Berkshire Magazine presents:
Women Writers and the Role of the Editor
Hosted by Anastasia Stanmeyer, editor of Berkshire Magazine, with Robin Catalano, Nichole Dupont, Ellen G. Lahr, Gladys Montgomery, and Abby Wood
The Triplex, Great Barrington, 11 a.m.

Join Berkshire Magazine writers and editor Anastasia Stanmeyer for a panel discussion on the challenges of being a woman journalist today. Many Berkshire writers are women who must juggle second, and even third, jobs while taking care of households. The challenges are even greater for them as they try to keep a writing career going. We will also explore the many facets of the role of the editor and its importance to the development of new and established writers.   www.berkshiremag.com


Anastasia Stanmeyer
is the editor of Berkshire Magazine. She is an active member of the Berkshire community and lives with her three children and husband on a farm in South County. She spent twelve years in Asia, writing and editing for Time, Asiaweek, Newsweek, Stern, and other magazines. She has written extensively for dailies such as the Dallas Morning News, the Christian Science Monitor, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Robin Catalano has been a freelance writer and editor for fifteen years, with articles appearing in Gourmet, Culinary Trends, Berkshire Magazine, Berkshire Living, and Dance Spirit. She has edited more than three hundred titles for publishing companies such as Penguin Putnam/New American Library and Simon & Schuster. She is content editor and copywriter for the Annie Selke Companies and oversees the company’s social media strategy and content.

Nichole Dupont

Berkshire native Nichole Dupont is a freelance writer and editor living in Sheffield, MA. Her work has appeared in Berkshire Magazine, Newsday, Rural Intelligence, and the Advocate Weekly. When her time permits, you will find her at risqué venues, reading her poetry and fiction among sequined burlesque dancers and jazz performers, or fishing for stripers and blues in the Atlantic.   www.ruralintelligence.com

Ellen G. Lahr is a writer, editor, and journalist. She spent more than twenty-five years at the Berkshire Eagle and has freelanced for Berkshire Magazine, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, Field and Stream, the Women’s Times, Berkshires Week, and other publications. She entered the PR world in 2008. She established EGLahr Communications in 2012, serving clients in the Berkshires and Albany region.

Gladys Montgomery, an award-winning writer and editor, contributes regularly to Berkshire Magazine. She has penned hundreds of feature articles on architecture, design, and other topics for regional, national, and international magazines. She was founding editor of Berkshire Living Home + Garden, and authored five books about architecture and antiques. She is a full-time real estate agent based in Stockbridge, MA.

Abby Wood is a freelance writer and social media specialist living in Pittsfield, MA. In addition to Berkshire Magazine, her work has appeared in the North Adams Transcript, the Berkshire Eagle, and Berkshire Living. A North Adams native and Williams College alumna, she enjoys venturing into South County for writing projects. She is also social media specialist at the Annie Selke Companies.

Cows Save the Planet: How to Find and Tell Stories of Ecological and Economic Restoration ~ March 3, 2013

Sunday, March 3
The New Economics Institute presents:
Cows Save the Planet: How to Find and Tell Stories of Ecological and Economic Restoration
Reading and discussion with Judith D. Schwartz , Billie Best, and Alice Maggio
American Institute of Economic Research, Great Barrington, 3–5 p.m.

The way we see the world and its challenges is often framed by the stories we hear and tell ourselves. This panel will focus on stories for the new economy and new solutions to problems in which we feel stuck, including the stories Judith D. Schwartz found that led to her upcoming book, Cows Save the Planet. We will highlight both global and Berkshire-based narratives of resilience and renewal. We will explore how narratives can be honed and shared so as to harness optimism and create momentum for change.

Judith D. Schwartz, a freelance writer based in Bennington, VT, has written about environmental economics for Pacific Standard, Time, and the Christian Science Monitor. She is the author of Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth, due out from Chelsea Green Publishing in May.

Billie Best is a writer, farmer, and community activist. She spent many years in the corporate world as a marketing consultant. Recently, she became executive director of Project Native, a nonprofit farm in the Berkshires.

Alice Maggio grew up in the Berkshires and is a graduate of Sheffield’s Mount Everett Regional High School and Wesleyan University. She baked pies in Brooklyn, taught English in the Alps, and cooked Basque food in Manhattan. She has returned home to work at the New Economics Institute, where her main focus is the Berkshares local currency program.

Fleeting Reality: Interpreting Place in Words and Images ~ March 4, 2013

Monday, March 4
Fleeting Reality: Interpreting Place in Words and Images
Featuring Marie-Elizabeth Mali and Lynnette Lucy Najimy
Leibowitz International Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

Join photographer-writers Marie-Elizabeth Mali and Lynnette Lucy Najimy as they share their creative works in photographs and words inspired by places on opposite sides of the earth. Captivated by the underwater lifescape in Indonesia, Marie-Elizabeth wants to “capture” as much of it as she can before it disappears due to climate change and unsustainable fishing practices. She will share underwater photos, poems, and prose from her travels. While exploring the old Great Barrington Fairgrounds, Lynnette discovered through the lens of her camera a parallel between the site’s transformation and her own past, present, and future. She expresses her shift in perspective in words and images over a four-year span.

Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Lynette Lucy Najimy

Marie-Elizabeth Mali is the author of Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011) and coeditor, with Annie Finch, of the anthology Villanelles (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, 2012). She lives in Housatonic, MA, and New York.

Lynnette Lucy Najimy is a multimedia producer with an MA in philanthropy and media from Suffolk University. She is a Berkshire native and currently lives in Housatonic, MA.

Writing Your Power, Passion, and Play: Letting Your Soul Have Its Way with You ~ March 5, 2013

Tuesday, March 5
Writing Your Power, Passion, and Play: Letting Your Soul Have Its Way with You
Workshop led by Mary Campbell
Sruti Yoga Center, 33 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, 7–9 p.m.

This writing workshop will guide participants a deeper connection with their divine spark and allow that marriage to express itself in the world through the body, heart, and word.


Mary Campbell
hosts Divining Beauty workshops and offers private coaching in the Berkshires and NYC. She guides women to listen and to express the full range of their creative energy and potential. She will be ordained in spring 2013, upon completion of her ministerial training, at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary.

Cuatro mujeres, cuatro géneros/Four Women, Four Genres ~ March 5, 2013

Cuatro mujeres, cuatro géneros/Four Women, Four Genres
Multimedia presentation and discussion hosted by Holly Brown
Liebowitz International Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

To browse through most contemporary anthologies of Latin American literature is to come away with the misconception that Latin American women have no voice in the Spanish-speaking literary or artistic world. In support of these underrepresented female artists, this workshop will showcase four examples of different creative genres by women from Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil. The bilingual presentation will be led by Holly Brown, professor of Spanish language and literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, with student presenters Olivia Dhaliwal, Paola Garcia, Melissa Sherman-Bennett, Abby Smith, and Mayu Suzuki. There will be a round-table discussion plus an opportunity for participants to engage in an unstructured creative writing activity at the close of the presentation.

WRites of Passage and the Age of Becoming: Puberty and the Onset of Fertility ~ March 6, 2013

Wednesday, March 6
WRites of Passage and the Age of Becoming: Puberty and the Onset of Fertility
Writing workshop hosted by Angela R. Vuagniaux, with Anni Crofut and Suzi Fowle
Sruti Yoga Center, 33 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, 7–9 p.m.

Participants will be invited to explore some of the pivotal moments in their lives through writing prompts, discussion, free writing, and sharing.

Angela Vuagniaux

Angela Vuagniaux writes nonfiction in order to understand her life as a menopausal stepmother to a pubescent eleven-year-old, while healing from her experience as a teenage birth mother. Over the years she has been a writer, teacher, vagabond, grant writer, and caregiver. She has participated in numerous writing workshops and led a few of her own.

Anni Crofut

Anni Crofut, who lives in Housatonic, MA, has chosen an eclectic path, mixing her work as jewelry designer with her passions for Indonesia, writing, and movement. Her musings appear on her blog Anni Maliki.com.

Suzie Fowle is a wildlife biologist and mother. She enjoys delving into and asking questions about menarche and fertility. Her essay “Mothering by Moonlight” was featured at the 2012 Berkshire Festival of Women Writers Gala Finale.

The Berkshire Immigrant Center presents: Coming to America ~ March 6, 2013

March 6, 2013
The Berkshire Immigrant Center presents:
Coming to America: a reading hosted by Greta Phinney, with Marcela Villada Peacock, Youlin Shi, Liliana Sills, and Yuko Takaya
Griffin Hall #3 Williams College, Williamstown, 4:15 p.m.

The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers has inspired the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) to mark Women’s History Month by encouraging and supporting immigrant woman to share their unique and compelling stories. In a series of workshops led by Greta Phinney, who has successfully conducted adult workshops for English as a Second Language both in Pittsfield and abroad, this diverse group of women have prepared their stories to present. None of the participants had previously documented their stories and each faced the challenges of writing and reading in a second language. The women were selected from BIC clients, friends, and through public notice. They have taken the theme “coming to America” in many directions, representing their diverse cultures and rich life experiences.

Greta Phinney was a public school teacher for thirty-seven years. She first used the workshop approach with elementary teachers who were English language learners, while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia in 1998. In 2003, she experimented with using this approach with students in an English-speaking school in Vanuatu. She began teaching English as a foreign language in Costa Rica in 2006. Since then she has taught English to adults in Buenos Aires and Costa Rica and trained teachers to teach English. She has worked at the Adult Learning Center in Pittsfield, teaching community classes in English, at both beginner and intermediate levels. “Having the opportunity to use my skills as a teacher and a writer to empower others is deeply rewarding!”

Marcela Villada Peacock left Mexico in 1974 to follow her husband to California, where he was a PhD student. She had completed three and half years of a psychology program at the National University in Mexico City. She and her husband live in Williamstown, where they raised their three daughters, all of whom are bilingual. Marcela has worked for the past eighteen years as the program coordinator of Williams College Multicultural Center, now the Davis Center, where she supports minority students and their families. “I want to share this story because my heart now is on the other side of the border. I am interested in issues about immigration and I want to help my people to make the transition, which I know is not easy.”

Youlin Shi was born in China, graduated from Heibei University, and taught history at a college in Beijing. Her husband, Kailia, came to the United States in 1986 to attend graduate school. She followed in 1987 and they became citizens in 2000. They now live in North Adams, where Youlin is a tai-chi instructor and Kailai is a history professor at MCLA. Their daughter is attending graduate school. “I think that American history is in some ways the history of how immigrants are able to take root, flourish, and make America what it is. I believe the great American story is made of individual small stories like mine, which I would like to share and pass on to next generations.”

Liliana Sills was born in Mexico and came to the United States in 2001 after she married an American whom she met in Mexico. She became a citizen in 2005. Liliana completed a BA in business in Mexico and worked as an elementary school teacher for ten years. In the United States, she acquired a Foreign Language teaching certificate and started teaching in middle and high schools. Before coming to the Berkshires, Liliana lived in New York City and Connecticut and completed a MS in school psychology. Today, she is a single mother of two young children and is pursuing a School Psychology certificate. “I would like to be part of the program to learn and share experiences with other women, who may have different backgrounds and stories but who share having been foreigners who started a new life from scratch.”

Yuko Takaya was born in Japan and graduated from college in 1978. After a stint in banking, she completed courses in interior design in Tokyo and London and worked as an interior coordinator for ten years in Tokyo. She came to United States in 2003, married in 2004, and then divorced. She came to the Berkshires in 2005 and has held waitressing jobs since then. “I believe writing my story is a good opportunity for me to look back at my life objectively in order to let go of all past traumatic experiences and be free from them.”

Kripalu presents: Salmon in the Stream: A Lecture on Writing By Julia Cameron ~ March 7, 2013

Thursday, March 7
Kripalu presents:
Salmon in the Stream: A Lecture on Writing
By Julia Cameron
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox, 7:30 p.m.
$25 admission. Pre-registration is required. To register, call 800-741-7353.

Julia Cameron, best-selling author of The Artist’s Way and more than thirty other books, shares her insights on writing and the tools she has used in her own three-decade career, during which she has also written movies, music, poetry, and journalism, and sold more than four million copies of her books worldwide.

Julia Cameron is the author of more than thirty books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Artist’s Way; The Vein of Gold; The Right to Write; The Sound of Paper; Walking in This World, Finding Water; and her most recent work, The Prosperous Heart, her best-selling book on the creative process. A songwriter, memoirist, novelist, award-winning playwright, and poet, she has extensive credits in film, television, and theater.

Do You Want to Be a Published Author? ~ March 8, 2013

Friday, March 8
Do You Want to Be a Published Author?
Interactive Discussion hosted by Carole Owens, with Julia Lord, Roberta Silman, and Edith Velmans
Stockbridge Library, 4–6 p.m.

Why do you want to write? Is it for fame and fortune? You may be disappointed: the vast majority of writers are neither famous nor rich. Do you want to write for the love of it? To find truth? To persuade? To entertain? For whom do you want to write—how do you visualize your audience? Finding the answers to these and other questions will help shape and motivate your craft. Authors will discuss the writer’s experience, what motivated them to write, and the rewards and the drawbacks. A literary agent will discuss why knowing the answers to these questions will help you write works more likely to be published. A discussion will follow with audience members about their aspirations, motivations, and questions.

Carole Owens is the author of The Berkshire Cottages and seven other published books. She has written features for numerous magazines and writes a biweekly column in the Berkshire Eagle and the Berkshire Record. In 2006, she was named Scholar in Residence at the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities; and between 2006 and 2008 she mounted three exhibitions on Berkshire history: Pittsfield During the Gilded Age, Fertile Ground: Berkshire Artists and Writers, and Rockwell’s Vision of Melville’s World. Carole has been a consultant to or featured on A&E’s America’s Castles and City Confidential, PBS’s Chronicles, and other programs.

Julia Lord runs a small, tenacious literary agency working with high-quality writers in adult fiction and nonfiction. Julia began her career in 1985, working for actors at the Monty Silver Agency. She opened its literary department, representing writers for film, television, and theater. She moved to books and opened Julia Lord Literary Management in 1999. Her mission is very hands-on: to work with writers to develop their careers from idea through publication and marketing. Her office is known for her steadfast commitment to each and every author and book project.

Roberta Silman, a Guggenheim and NEA Fellow, has published Blood Relations, Boundaries, The Dream Dredger, Beginning The World Again, and Somebody’s Else’s Child. The winner of the Child Study Association Award, two National Magazine Awards, Honorable Mention for the PEN Hemingway and Janet Kafka Prizes, and two Pen Syndicated Fiction Prizes, she has had stories in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and many other magazines, as well as on National Public Radio. She is also a regular reviewer for the Boston Globe and the online ArtsFuse.

Edith Velmans is the author of Edith’s Story, a biography that tells the story of her family, Jews living in Holland during WWII. A trained psychologist, she had a full career before turning to writing in 1997. Edith’s Story has been translated into ten languages and distributed worldwide. The book and its author have received prizes and honors in England, the Netherlands, and the United States.

Before I Forget . . . A Workshop in Memoir Making ~ March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013
Before I Forget . . . A Workshop in Memoir Making (or, How to Tell a Story That Never Stays the Same)
Led by Sally-Jane Heit, with special guest Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez; Uel Wade on piano.
Blodgett House, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7 p.m.

Playwright, actor, and singer Sally-Jane Heit shares excerpts from Before I Forget . . . A Memoir with Music and discusses how she came to create this masterful one-woman show. The highs and lows of Sally-Jane’s life provide new material for the shaping and reshaping of what will never be a finished piece. Out of the mouth of an old babe, this workshop invites you to listen, remember, share, and, of course, ask questions. Sally-Jane may not know the answers, but that has never stopped her from telling you what to do! With her infectious brand of humor, wit, and wisdom, she demonstrates how to tell your truth your way. As life goes on, so does the memoir.

Sally-Jane Heit grew up in Brooklyn, NY, where the attempt to rival attention among her seven siblings stirred her natural abilities as a performer—singing, dancing, and acting. Sally Jane trained at the High School of Performing Arts, Hunter College, and Yale Drama School. After raising three daughters in Washington, DC, she moved to New York and was cast in Michael Bennett’s Broadway musical Ballroom. Her impressive list of professional credits includes theater, television, and film. It was an inspired encounter with Lily Tomlin that ignited the passion that has evolved into her latest production, Before I Forget . . . A Musical Memoir.

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, PhD, is associate professor of comparative literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, where she also teaches human rights, gender studies, and media studies. She blogs regularly on politics and environmental issues at Transition Times and is the founding director of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. She is the editor of the anthology Women Writing Resistance: Essays on Latin America and the Caribbean (South End Press, 2004) and coeditor of African Women Writing Resistance: Contemporary Voices (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010). She is currently working on a memoir that fuses the personal and the political, with a focus on environmental justice.

Return to Little Women ~ March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 9
Return to Little Women
A multimedia lecture presented by Iris Bass
Mason Library, Great Barrington, 10 a.m.–noon

Sometimes we find great richness in exploring our own backyard. Such is the case with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Many have not gone back to this classic story since reading it as a child, not realizing the degree to which the character of Jo reflects feminist writer Alcott’s fervent belief that women of her day had the right to pursue careers. Written in Concord, MA, in 1868–69, the novel is both autobiographical and an idealization of the grounded family life and loving marriage that Alcott never had.

Published author Iris Bass, who for four years presented the “Words before Music” opera­literature series at Lee Library, will take readers on a literary journey back to this seminal work while also moving forward to American composer Mark Adamo’s 1998 opera based on Little Women, using excerpts from its audio recording.

Women, Creativity & Aging ~ March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013
Women, Creativity & Aging
Hosted by Sondra Zeidenstein
Mason Library, Great Barrington, 1–3 p.m.

This interactive discussion, led by octogenarian Sondra Zeidenstein, will help participants focus on the way aging is helping or hindering their creative process: the content of their work, their productivity, their publication, their mood, their sense of community.


Sondra Zeidenstein
 is a poet and publisher of Chicory Blue Press, a feminist press dedicated to publishing poetry by women over the age of seventy. She has a PhD in literature from Columbia University. Now eighty, she is committed to helping artists explore the ageism in our culture: how we have internalized it, and how we can overcome it in our creative lives. She has been writing about and leading discussions on the topic of creativity and age for many years. The first book her press published was A Wider Giving: Women Writing After a Long Silence.

Your Genie Awaits—How to Access Your Wisdom Through Writing ~ March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013
Your Genie Awaits—How to Access Your Wisdom Through Writing
Hosted by Millie Calesky
Lichtenstein Center, 28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield, 1–4 p.m.

The best answers to your life challenges often lie within. Journaling is an effective way to tap into your deepest wisdom. If you’re ready to access your “inner genie” through writing, it’s simple to get started. Come to this workshop to learn three proven strategies to begin or to strengthen your journaling practice. You’ll find the process grounding and energizing, and the rewards deeply satisfying.

Millie Calesky. Photo by Keith Emerling

Millie Calesky, a seasoned professional coach, draws from her background as an English teacher, editor, and author. She provides her writing clients with the tools, support, and structure they need to achieve their goals. Millie has guided many to break through their roadblocks and complete projects, such as books, master’s theses, and PhD dissertations. A graduate of Coach University, Millie has a BA in English and American literature from McGill University. She honed her skills over thirty-plus years by working in the publishing industry and by studying with writing teachers, such as Natalie Goldberg and Linda Metcalf. Her articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines, and online.

Alison Larkin LIVE! ~ March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013
Alison Larkin LIVE!
Unicorn Theater, Stockbridge, 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $20 to benefit the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers
For tickets, contact the Colonial Theatre box office at (413) 997-4444

Internationally acclaimed comedienne Alison Larkin will perform a sneak preview of her new one-woman show, Alison Larkin LIVE! as a fund-raiser for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Alison’s first solo show, from which sprang her autobiographical novel, The English American, played to high critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, with The (London) Times calling the show “Hugely entertaining—marvelously light footed”; NBC-TV hailing Alison as “a hysterically funny new bi-hemispheric comedienne”; and Vogue calling it “most powerful book of the season.”’ The English American tells the story of an adopted English woman who finds her birth parents in the United States. It is under development as a movie, with Alison cowriting the screenplay. In a unique blend of stand-up comedy and theater, Alison will entertain, chat about the real story behind her novel and take a comedic look at life as an English American.

As an actress, Alison Larkin has appeared on and off Broadway with the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. A headliner at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, she also spent three years under studio contract to star in her own sitcom with CBS and Jim Henson productions. She has narrated over thirty best-selling audio books since moving to Great Barrington, MA, in 2010, including The English American, for which she won the prestigious AudioFile Earphones Award.

 

The 12th Annual International Women’s Day Observance: “Sweet Dreams of Women’s Human Rights” ~ March 10, 2013

Sunday, March 10
The Berkshire Human Rights Speaker Series presents:
The 12th Annual International Women’s Day Observance at Bard College at Simon’s Rock: “Sweet Dreams of Women’s Human Rights”
Film screening and discussion with Rob Fruchtman and Jennifer Dundas
McConnell Theater, Daniel Arts Center, 2–5 p.m.

The new documentary film Sweet Dreams, by Rob Fruchtman and Lisa Fruchtman, takes us to Rwanda, where, a decade after the 1994 genocide, women’s arts organizer Kiki Katese formed the first female drumming group in Rwanda. In the troupe, Tutsi and Hutu widows and orphans—wives and children of both perpetrators and victims—found reconciliation and safety through creating new traditions of hope and renewal. When Kiki later met Jennifer Dundas, one of the owners of Blue Marble Ice Cream in Brooklyn, she asked whether Jennifer would come to Rwanda to help the drummers open the first ice-cream shop in Rwanda. Sweet Dreams follows the women of the drumming group as they work with the American women to develop unique paths toward peace and possibility. A larger cooperative unfolds as the joyful film weaves the audience into the moving and inspiring beat of the drummers, artists, and entrepreneurs.

Rob Fruchtman is an award-winning director, producer, and editor of documentaries and television programs in the arts, history, world cultures, and social justice issues. He was recipient of the Documentary Directors’ award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival for his feature film Sister Helen, which aired on HBO, and he has won three Emmys for his work on PBS. In 2007 he produced the film Seeing Proof, commissioned by the George Soros Open Society Institute, a documentary exploring the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and its lingering effects on Cambodia’s society.

Jennifer Dundas has had a long and distinguished career as a film and theater actress. She starred in the Broadway premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia opposite Billy Crudup, and created the role of Edie in the world premiere of Jules Feiffer’s Grown Ups on Broadway. She now receives rave reviews for her Blue Marble Ice Cream products as well as her entrepreneurial partnerships with women in Rwanda.

Sweet Dreams :: Trailer from Liro Films on Vimeo.

A Celebration of Young Women Writers from Monument Mountain Regional High School ~ March 11, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013
A Celebration of Young Women Writers from Monument Mountain Regional High School
Hosted by Lisken Van Pelt Dus
Guthrie Center, 4 Van Deusenville Road, Great Barrington, 7–8:30 p.m.

At this mixed-genre reading of work by young women writers from Monument Mountain Regional High School, ten writers will each read a short selection of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Participants will be selected by the English faculty, who will also moderate the event.

Lisken Van Pelt Dus is a poet, teacher, and martial artist living in Pittsfield, MA. She teaches writing and languages at Monument Mountain Regional High School. Her poetry can be found in Conduit, The South Carolina Review, qarrtsiluni, upstreet, and other journals, and in her chapbook, Everywhere at Once (Pudding House Press, 2009).

Stories from the Inside Out ~ March 12, 2013

Tuesday, March 12
Stories from the Inside Out
Workshop led by Annabelle F. Coote
Dance Studio, Daniel Arts Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7 p.m.

All women have stories. Every day is full of them. The mundane, the exciting, the quietly surprising, the kind that storm in and take over. Our stories live inside of us, in our bodies. In this interactive workshop, we will use movement and other creative arts to connect with our bodies’ wisdom and explore our stories, giving them depth and richness. We will move between writing and other expressive modalities with the goal of creating a piece of poetry or prose. Our time together will culminate in a reading for those who wish to share. No prior writing, arts, or movement experience necessary.

Annabelle F. Coote is an experienced psychotherapist, specializing in creative approaches and the mind/body connection. She draws on her background in dance, incorporating a wide range of expressive modalities into her work, including dance/movement, expressive arts, and writing. She is a licensed mental health counselor, a board-certified dance/movement therapist and a certified drug and alcohol abuse counselor. Annabelle is an experienced workshop leader, presenter, and dance/movement instructor. She offers psychotherapy and movement coaching in her private practice, Movement Matters, and works as a senior staff therapist in the counseling service at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

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WRites of Passage and First Motherhood: Sex and Giving Birth ~ March 13, 2013

Wednesday, March 13
WRites of Passage and First Motherhood: Sex and Giving Birth
Workshop led by Angela Vuagniaux and Elizabeth Young
Sruti Yoga Center, 33 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, 7–9 p.m.

Participants will be invited to explore some of the most pivotal moments in their lives, using writing prompts, discussion, freewriting and optional sharing.

Angela Vuagniaux writes nonfiction to make sense of her new phases of life as a menopausal stepmother to a pubescent eleven-year-­old, while healing from her experience as a teenage birth mother. Over the years she has been a writer, teacher, vagabond, grant writer, and caregiver. She has participated in numerous writing workshops and led a few of her own. The themes in this series are her current passion.

Elizabeth Young works in Great Barrington, MA, as a psychotherapist at the Counseling Center in the Berkshires. Before moving to the area, she was an English professor at California State University at Long Beach for seventeen years.

Kripalu presents: Writing the Wild Heart ~ March 14, 2013

Thursday, March 14
Kripalu presents:
Writing the Wild Heart
Workshop led by Jennifer Young
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox, 7:30–9:30 p.m. Free but pre-registration is required. To register, call 800-741-7353.

For hundreds of generations, our ancestors’ primary relationship was with the earth. They felt themselves part of an intricate community of life. Today, most of us live in towns, cities, and suburban neighborhoods. We may no longer live in the wilderness, but it still lives within us, and connecting to that part of ourselves can be a powerful and healing process. In this workshop, we explore a variety of landscapes: deserts, forests, oceans, rivers, and mountains. Through writing prompts and discussion, we discover what these landscapes bring up for us, and how they can empower, inspire and support our lives.

Jennifer Young is the director and senior faculty member of Kripalu Healthy Living programs. A certified Kripalu yoga teacher, she also has more than fifteen years of experience teaching expressive and creative writing. As a journal facilitator, she specializes in using writing for health and healing, as well as in unleashing more creativity and vitality in life.

Speak Out and Speak Up! A Spoken Word Poetry Workshop for Young Women ~ March 14, 2013

Thursday, March 14
Speak Out and Speak Up! A Spoken Word Poetry Workshop for Young Women
Hosted by Kirsten Peterson and Alexis Marie Wint
Railroad Street Youth Project, 60 Bridge Street, Great Barrington, 7 p.m.

This workshop will give young women of the Berkshires a chance to learn about writing and performing poetry. Often young women feel that their voices cannot be heard, but through this workshop we will be working to find, develop and to expand that creative voice. Designed for the teenage crowd, the workshop will be followed by a reading. No previous experience required.

Kirsten Peterson is a Simon’s Rock senior and proud Marylander. She has been writing poetry and short stories since fourth grade and recently began experimenting with personal essays. This year she is writing her thesis on anthropological practices in U.S. foreign relations and participating in an internship at the Railroad Street Youth Project.

Alexis Marie Wint is a twenty-year-old Brooklyn native with a passion for social justice and change. She is an actress, poet, writer, spoken word artist, and community activist. She is currently working on her senior thesis: a collection of short stories and poems that celebrate the beauty and articulate the struggles of African-American woman. Alexis Marie aspires to be an English professor and to share her gift of word with the world.

WAM Theatre and Sisters for Peace present: Screening: Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide ~ March 15, 2013

Friday, March 15
WAM Theatre and Sisters for Peace present:
Screening: Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Community discussion to follow with Kristen van Ginhoven and Caroline Wheeler Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, 7–9:30 p.m.

This powerful documentary, inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s best-selling book, introduces women and girls from all over the world who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable . . . and fighting bravely to change them. The film reflects viable and sustainable options for empowerment and offers a blueprint for transformation. Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Change is possible, and we can be part of the solution. Following the screening of excerpts from the film, Kristen van Ginhoven and Caroline Wheeler will lead a group discussion exploring the actions we can take to support positive change for women and girls worldwide.

Inspired by the book Half the Sky, WAM Theatre was founded in 2009 by Kristen van Ginhoven and Leigh Strimbeck. WAM’s philanthropic mission is twofold: first, producing theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theater artists and/or stories of women and girls; second, to donate a portion of the proceeds from those events to organizations that benefit women and girls. WAM has donated over $7,000 to its beneficiaries.  www.kristenvanginhoven.com

Like many who have read Half the Sky, Sisters for Peace founder Caroline Wheeler was compelled to engage others to get involved and to work together to help empower women and girls around the world. In just over a year, Sisters for Peace has rallied to do volunteer work and has given over $8,000 to local and global organizations. Sisters for Peace is an entirely volunteer organization, and every dollar donated goes directly to the NGOs that work to empower women and girls. It doesn’t take an extensive network of partners and investors to start making a difference.   www.sistersforpeace.org

Writing for Tweens ~ March 16, 2013

Saturday, March 16
Writing for Tweens
Reading and discussion led by Lisa Greenwald
Stockbridge Library, 11 a.m.

Lisa Greenwald will read an excerpt from her newest novel for tweens, My Summer of Pink and Green. She will discuss her path to publication, the writing process, and why she chose to write for tweens. A Q&A and book signing will follow. If time permits, there will be a brief writing workshop.

Lisa Greenwald is the author of four books for tweens. She works in the library at the Birch Wathen Lenox School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Lisa is also a recent graduate of the New School’s MFA program in writing for children. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and young daughter.

Writing Together: Moving out of the Garret ~ March 16, 2013

Saturday, March 16
Writing Together: Moving out of the Garret
Panel discussion with Patricia Lee Lewis, Ellen Meeropol, and Jacqueline Sheehan
Lenox Library, 1–3 p.m.

Three authors and writing teachers discuss ways writers can move out of the solitary garret for their mutual benefit: manuscript groups and writing partners; low-residence MFA’s and conferences; writing residencies and retreats; and online discussion boards and regional literary communities.

Patricia Lee Lewis was born and raised in Texas, where her three children were also born. For over thirty years she has lived and worked at Patchwork Farm Retreat in western Massachusetts. She holds an MFA degree in creative writing from Vermont College and a BA from Smith College, Phi Beta Kappa. Beloved mentor of many writers and leader of frequent writing retreats, both nationally and internationally, she has also been the publisher of The Patchwork Journal. A grant in 2011 from the Massachusetts Arts Council enabled her to help establish a writing program at her local library. Her first book of poems, A Kind of Yellow, was awarded first place by Writers Digest International.

Ellen Meeropol, photo by Miriam Berkley

Ellen Meeropol’s writing explores characters at the intersection of political turmoil, ethical dilemma, and family life. Publishers Weekly gave her debut novel, House Arrest (Red Hen, 2011) a starred review, calling it “thoughtful and tightly composed, unflinching in taking on challenging subjects and deliberating uneasy ethical conundrums.” Her dramatic program about the Rosenberg Fund for Children has been produced in four cities and is planned for June 2013 in Manhattan. Her short stories and essays appear in Bridges, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, Shaking Magazine, the Women’s Times, and the Writers Chronicle. She teaches workshops at Grub Street in Boston and Writers in Progress in Florence, MA.

Jacqueline Sheehan, PhD, is a psychologist and a New York Times best-selling author of fiction. Her novels include The Comet’s Tale, a novel about Sojourner Truth; Lost & Found, Now & Then, and Picture This. In 2005, she edited the anthology Women Writing in Prison. Jacqueline has been awarded residencies at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland and Jentel Arts Colony in Wyoming. She teaches workshops at Grub Street in Boston and Writers in Progress in Florence, MA. She has offered international writing retreats in Jamaica, Guatemala, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.

R2W Talks: Interviews with Powerful Women ~ March 16, 2013

Saturday, March 16
R2W Talks: Interviews with Powerful Women
Hosted by Serene Mastrianni with special guests Sheila Keator, Joanna L. Krotz, Diane Patrick and Evelyn Resh
Kellogg Music Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 1–3 p.m.
Admission $25, to benefit WBCR-LP, 97.7 FM, Berkshire Community Radio (free for students)

Join award-winning radio host Serene Mastrianni for a series of intense interviews with women experts, including Sheila Keator on Women in Finance, Joanna L. Krotz on Women in Philanthropy, Diane Patrick on Women and Empowerment, and Evelyn Resh on Women in Touch. The interviews will be followed by a Q&A session and a networking reception.

Serene Mastrianni is cohost and cofounder of Radio2Women, a radio show focusing on women’s issues, broadcast twice weekly from the studios of WBCR-LP, 97.7 FM, Great Barrington, and podcasts widely on the web. The mission of Radio2Women is to entertain, inform, and empower. In 2012, the show celebrated its sixth year on the air, with more than ten thousand podcasts downloaded.

As the founder of Keator Group, LLC, and with more than thirty years of experience in the investment industry, Sheila Keator devotes her time to helping clients define and achieve business and investment objectives. She sits on the Advisory Committee for the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts MBA program and serves on the board of directors of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Newman Center.

Joanna L. Krotz is the author of Making Philanthropy Count: How Women Are Changing the World; The Guide to Intelligent Giving: Make A Difference in the World-and in Your Own Life; and coauthor of The Microsoft Small Business Kit, a 500-page guide to entrepreneurship. Joanna also runs Muse2Muse Productions, a custom content provider. She founded the Women’s Giving Institute, an organization committed to educating the donor in all of us.

First Lady of Massachusetts Diane Patrick has her own record of excellence and distinguished professional and public service. A lawyer, teacher, mother, and active member of her community, Mrs. Patrick has served on the boards of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, Jane Doe, Inc., and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, among others. Currently, she serves on the board of the Posse Foundation and as an overseer at the Epiphany School. Mrs. Patrick has also been an outspoken advocate in the Commonwealth’s ongoing effort to end domestic violence. She has been actively engaged with families, agencies, and law enforcement to support victims as well as to identify and to address the root causes of domestic abuse.

Evelyn Resh, MPH, CNM, is a sexuality counselor, author, and nurse-midwife with over twenty years of experience in clinical practice. Her first book, The Secret Lives of Teen Girls: What Your Mother Wouldn’t Talk About but Your Daughter Needs to Know (Hay House, 2009), takes a distinctly sex-positive view of teenage girls and sex. Her second book, Women, Sex, Power, and Pleasure; Getting the Life (and Sex) You Want, will be released March 2013. She has been a contributing writer for www.Oprah.com and the Huffington Post and is the director of sexuality programming and counseling for Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA.

 

The Berkshire International Film Festival presents: Water Children: A film by Aliona van der Horst ~ March 17, 2013

Sunday, March 17
The Berkshire International Film Festival presents:
Water Children: A film by Aliona van der Horst
Netherlands, 2011, 75 minutes, Japanese/English with English subtitles
The Triplex, Great Barrington, 11 a.m.

In this acclaimed, hauntingly beautiful film, director Aliona van der Horst follows the unconventional Japanese-Dutch pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama as she explores the miracle of fertility and the cycle of life—sometimes joyful, sometimes tragic. When Mukaiyama recognized that her childbearing years were ending, she created a multimedia art project on the subject in a village in Japan, constructing what she calls a cathedral out of twelve thousand white silk dresses. While Mukaiyama’s own mesmerizing music provides a haunting backdrop to the film, her installation elicits confessions from its normally reticent Japanese visitors, many of whom have never seen art before. In moving scenes, they open up about previously taboo subjects. Mukaiyama’s courageous approach to a subject that remains unspoken in many cultures is explored with an elegance and sophistication that deepens our understanding of the relationship between body and mind.

Dutch director Aliona van der Horst has directed four international award-winning documentaries. She was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1970 and studied Russian literature at the University of Amsterdam and film at the Dutch Film and Television Academy. She began her career in 1997 with the much-acclaimed The Lady with the White Hat and since then has received multiple awards for most of her films, among them the Special Jury Prize at the Tribeca film festival for Voices of Bam (2006), and the Grand Prix of the FIFA Montreal for The Hermitage Dwellers (2004). Recently she received the Jan Kassies Award for outstanding achievement from the Dutch Cultural Broadcasting Fund. For her documentary Boris Ryzhy, she received the Silver Wolf Award at the IDFA, 2008; Best Documentary Award at Edinburgh Filmfestival, 2009; the Award of the Dutch Filmjournalists; and the Special Jury Prize at the FIFA, Montréal.

The Berkshire International Film Festival, a world-class festival and an integral part of the cultural fabric of the Berkshires, celebrates its 8th season May 30–June 3, 2013. BIFF showcases not only the latest in independent feature, documentary, short, and family films, but also lively panel discussions and special events, focusing on filmmakers and talented artists from both sides of the camera. www.biffma.com

Writing with Prompts ~ March 17, 2013

Sunday, March 17
Writing with Prompts
Workshop led by Frances Roth
Bushnell-Sage Library, Sheffield, 2–4 p.m.

This workshop is designed for beginners who think they might like to write but aren’t quite sure how to get started, as well as for writers with experience who are having trouble fitting writing into their busy schedules. Writing from prompts and practice writing will serve both the novice and the seasoned writer. We will also explore an exercise called five-minute words. Everyone is welcome regardless of writing experience.

Frances Roth leads a book group and a poetry read-around group every month at the Sheffield Library. She is a member of two local writing groups and a poetry critique group. Her most recent poems were published in the spring and fall editions of The Avocet, a literary journal of nature poetry.

Orion Magazine presents: An Orion Reading at the Intersection of Nature and Culture ~ March 17, 2013

Sunday, March 17
Orion Magazine
presents:
An Orion Reading at the Intersection of Nature and Culture
Hosted by Hannah Fries, with Andrea Cohen, Melissa Holbrook Pierson, and Ginger Strand
Kellogg Music Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 3–5 p.m.

Join us for this multigenre reading with Orion magazine essayists Ginger Strand and Melissa Holbrook Pierson and poet Andrea Cohen. Orion is a locally based magazine with an international readership, focusing on the connections between nature and culture, people and place.

Hannah Fries is associate editor and poetry editor of Orion magazine. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, her own work has appeared in the Massachusetts Review, Calyx, upstreet, and other journals.

Andrea Cohen is the author of the poetry collections Kentucky Derby, Long Division, and The Cartographer’s Vacation. Her work has appeared in Poetry, the Atlantic Monthly, the Threepenny Review, the Hudson Review, and elsewhere. She directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, MA.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson is the author of four works of nonfiction: The Perfect Vehicle, Dark Horses and Black Beauties, The Place You Love Is Gone, and The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing. She has written for magazines as varied as the Nation, Salon, and Orion.

Ginger Strand is the author of three books, most recently Killer on the Road, a history of our interstate highways and the killers who have haunted them. She writes for a wide range of magazines, including Orion, where she is a contributing editor.

The Development of the Self ~ March 18, 2013

Monday, March 18
The Development of the Self
Bard College at Simon’s Rock Student Reading and Discussion hosted by Brighde Moffat and Kirsten Peterson, with Georgia Cate Byler, Eleanor Cardell, Karishma Singh Jani, Jaeme Poncin, Grace Rossman, and Alexis Marie Wint
Blodgett House, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

This panel is comprised of eight Simon’s Rock students. The development of the younger female self in relation to forces such as culture, religion, family, and geography will be explored through the personal essay and other creative formats.

Brighde Moffat is a proud feminist and, as such, is invested in deconstructing dualisms. Living in so many places has deeply affected her perception of place, space, and time, which has developed into an ever-growing passion for geography. This past summer, Brighde worked in the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps to ensure the protection of woodlands, and will be a corps member again this summer.

Kirsten Peterson is a Simon’s Rock senior and proud Marylander. She has been writing poetry and short stories since fourth grade and recently began experimenting with personal essays. This year she is writing her thesis on anthropological practices in U.S. foreign relations while participating in an internship at the Railroad Street Youth Project in Great Barrington.

Georgia Cate Byler is a native of Virginia and a Simon’s Rock senior with a double concentration in creative writing and literary studies. Her fiction focuses on child narrative, the creation of identity, and secrets within domestic life.

Eleanor Cardell was born in Chicago and has lived in the suburbs of Los Angeles for most of her life. She has been writing since she was little and reading since she was littler. She enjoys sleeping and hanging out with friends and hopes to graduate from college sometime in the near future, perhaps even with a degree she can use.

Karishma Singh Jani is a Sikh Punjabi Indian who was born in Queens, NY, but has lived most of her life on the eastern coast of Virginia. She is currently a sophomore at Simon’s Rock who is passionate about music, writing, and her heritage. Ultimately, she aspires to become a doctor.

Jaeme Poncin is a first-year student at Simon’s Rock. She was born in Sacramento, CA. She attended the Sacramento Waldorf School, where her love for creative writing and art were born. She plans to study cultural anthropology and creative writing, hoping to travel and live outside of the United States.

Grace Rossman is a sophomore at Simon’s Rock. Born and raised in Great Barrington, MA, Grace has been surrounded—and deeply affected—by the beauty of the regal Berkshire Hills. At Simon’s Rock, her long-standing love for and devotion to the natural world evolved into a passion for the field of environmental studies.

Alexis Marie Wint is a twenty-year-old Brooklyn native with a passion for social justice and change. She is an actress, poet, writer, spoken word artist, and community activist. She is currently working on her senior thesis, a collection of short stories and poems which celebrate the beauty and articulate the struggles of African-American woman. Alexis Marie aspires to be an English professor and ultimately share her gift of word with the world.

Writing for the Web ~ March 19, 2013

Tuesday, March 19
Writing for the Web
Workshop led by Susanna Opper
Lenox Library, 6–8 p.m.

It may not be poetry or fiction, but you can still write lively, interesting prose to get your message across on the Web. In a mere 300 to 500 words you can tell an organization’s story, promote an event, describe a product or process, and provide value to your reader at the same time. Writing tight, easy­to-read copy takes practice, but you can learn important principles in this workshop. Before you come, gather your thoughts about something you want to promote online—in a newsletter, blog, or website.

Susanna Opper has more than forty years’ experience in business communications for top Fortune companies and small businesses. Today she specializes in helping businesses, nonprofits, and solopreneurs with their messaging requirements. A pioneer in online communication, she published, in 1992, the seminal work Technology for Teams: Enhancing Communication in Networked Organizations. Her newsletter, Web Words, reaches nearly 1,500 subscribers monthly and has been published for more than six years. www.shawenon.com

IWOW-WOW (In Words out of Words in Women’s Own Words) ~ March 19, 2013

Tuesday, March 19
The Deb Koffman Gallery presents:
IWOW-WOW (In Words out of Words in Women’s Own Words)
An open mic event for storytellers, poets, musicians, and performers
Deb Koffman Gallery, 137 Front Street, Housatonic, 7–9 p.m.
Suggested donation: $6

Women writers, poets, storytellers, songwriters, and performers share their art with one another and a supportive audience. Men are also welcome to read/perform women’s writings. Each participant is allotted three minutes (600 or fewer words). Performers can sign up by emailing Deb Koffman at deb@debkoffman.com; audience reservations are suggested, as space is limited. Snacks to share are welcome.

WRites of Passage and the Final Journey: The End of Fertility, Aging, and Death ~ March 20, 2013

Wednesday, March 20
WRites of Passage and the Final Journey: The End of Fertility, Aging, and Death
Workshop led by Ann-Elizabeth Barnes and Angela Vuagniaux
Sruti Yoga Center, 33 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, 7–9 p.m.

Participants will be invited to explore some of the most pivotal moments in their lives, using writing prompts, discussion, freewriting, and optional sharing.

Ann-Elizabeth Barnes is the author of A Free Woman on God’s Earth: The True Story of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, the Slave Who Won Her Freedom. Ann-Elizabeth dedicates her life to bringing the story of Mumbet to the world, starting with Berkshire County school children. She also provides a service, Sacred Undertaking, which helps families care for their loved ones at home after death. She lives in Great Barrington, MA, with her husband and two dogs. www.ann-elizabethbarnes.com


Angela Vuagniaux
writes nonfiction to make sense of her new phases of life as a menopausal stepmother to a pubescent eleven-year-old, while healing from her experience as a teenage birth mother. Over the years she has been a writer, teacher, vagabond, grant writer, and caregiver. She has participated in numerous writing workshops and led a few of her own. The themes in this series are her current passion.

Illumination: Memoir Writing as a Path to Peace, with Laura Didyk ~ March 20, 2013

Wednesday, March 20
The Women’s Interfaith Institute of the Berkshires presents
Illumination: Memoir Writing as a Path to Peace, with Laura Didyk
Stockbridge Congregational Church, 6–8:30 p.m.
Suggested donation for nonmembers: $5–$10.

Writing about your own life means more than merely reporting on your past. When you bring the perspective of who you are today to bear on stories from your life, not only will the stories shine with new and surprising significance but you, the writer, will be transformed in the process. Approached in the spirit of discovery, memoir writing becomes a vehicle for illumination, insight, and wisdom that can bring the writer a sense of peace while inspiring and changing her readers. Writer and teacher Laura Didyk will lead memoir-writing exercises and give a short reading from her memoir in progress. Following the usual format of Women’s Interfaith events, the potluck dinner starts at 6 p.m., and the program will begin at 7 p.m. Please bring a dish to share.

Laura Didyk, MFA, published writer and former editor in chief of a national literary magazine, has earned a local reputation as an inspiring and inventive teacher. Her work has been published in the Comstock Review, Diagram, Post Road, Fence, the Sun, and New Orleans Review, among others. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and her work has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. lauradidyk.com

Jump-Start Your Memoir: Write It from the Heart ~ March 21, 2013

Thursday, March 21
Kripalu presents:
Jump-Start Your Memoir: Write It from the Heart
Workshop led by Nancy Slonim Aronie
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox, 7:30–9:30 p.m.  Free but pre-registration is required. To register, call 800-741-7353.

We’ll take the “marrow” of our lives—the good, the bad, and everything in between— and transform it out of our bodies and onto the page. We’ll turn our life experiences into gold through short, interactive writing exercises.

Nancy Slonim Aronie is the author of Writing from the Heart, a commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and a teaching fellow for Robert Coles at Harvard University. A recipient of the Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Eye of the Beholder Award, Nancy lives on Martha’s Vineyard, where she runs the Chilmark Writing Workshop. writingfromtheheart.wordpress.com

Garbage into Gold ~ March 21, 2013

Thursday, March 21
Garbage into Gold
Workshop led by Laura Didyk
Berkshire South/Jenifer House, Great Barrington, 6:30–8:30 p.m.

There’s a myth about successful writers: they know what they want to write; they sit down and write it, brilliantly, on the first try. Wrong. Sometimes, most times, we need to write (and write and write) to find our subject matter, to arrive at a turn of phrase, an image, or a piece of dialogue that will bring us to the gold of our own work. In this workshop, writing practice, writing exercises and on­the‐spot assignments will help us quiet our inner editors long enough to surprise even ourselves.

Laura Didyk earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama. Her teaching experience ranges from the college classroom, to a state prison, to community classes throughout the Berkshires. Her work has appeared in national literary magazines. lauradidyk.com

Trust: A performance by JoAnne Spies ~ March 22, 2013

Friday, March 22
Trust: A performance by JoAnne Spies
Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, 2:30 p.m.

JoAnne Spies with guitar. Photo by Julie McCarthy

Trust is a collaborative and interactive performance created by JoAnne Spies, with songs and poems on the theme of trust, in a guided tour of the Rockwell Museum.

JoAnne Spies is a singer-songwriter whose recent works include Karaoke Confession at the Norman Rockwell Museum and Survivor Tree, sung at Ground Zero with Jane Goodall officiating. Spies heads the Art Cart program at CATA, co-creating songs with elders and people with Alzheimer’s. Her CDs include 2×3, Me & Melville, and North Avenue Honey. JoAnne “puts the purr in performance art.”—CD Nelson
soundingtheriver.blogspot.com

Virtual Artists’ Collective Reading and Discussion ~ March 22, 2013

Friday, March 22
Virtual Artists’ Collective Reading and Discussion
With Rosebud Ben-Oni and Arisa White
MCLA Gallery 51, 51 Main Street, North Adams, 6–8 p.m.

Writers Arisa White and Rosebud Ben-Oni offer a cross-cultural perspective on growing up in fragmented, hostile, and uncompromising environments, including coming to terms with loving women in central Brooklyn and Arab East Jerusalem. While their poetry exposes the gritty realities of women whose spaces demand constant adaptation, the poets seek to create more solid ground in HER KIND (herkind.org), the official blog of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, a forum to create lively conversation about issues that are often dismissed or overlooked by the mainstream media. Arisa and Rosebud will present a joint reading and discuss their work for HER KIND. They will explain how writing can serve as an agent for positive social change by encouraging women to define their own terms regarding the valuing of women’s voices.

Rosebud Ben-Oni was a Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she earned an MFA in poetry. She was a Horace Goldsmith Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she completed postgraduate research. A playwright at New Perspectives Theater, she is working on a new play that will feature music by Carlton Zeus. Her work appears in Arts & Letters, B O D Y, Borderlands, Texas Poetry Review, and Puerto del Sol. Her short story “A Way out of the Colonia” won the Editor’s Prize in Camera Obscura. She writes the series “On 7 Train Love” for the blog of Sundog Lit. Nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, her debut book of poems SOLECISM will be published by Virtual Artists Collective in early 2013. rosebudbenoni.com

Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow and an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her debut collection, Hurrah’s Nest, was published by Virtual Artists Collective and is the 2012 winner of the San Francisco Book Festival Award for poetry. Her second collection, A Penny Saved, was published by Willow Books in November 2012. Selected by the San Francisco Bay Guardian for the 2010 Hot Pink List as a queer poet to watch out for, Arisa is also part of the PlayGround writers’ pool at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; her play Frigidare was staged for the 15th Annual Best of PlayGround Festival. arisawhite.com

Women of Troy: A Staged Reading ~ March 22, 2013

Friday, March 22
Women of Troy: A Staged Reading
Directed by Leigh Strimbeck, with students from Russell Sage College
Kellogg Music Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

A new adaptation of Euripides’ antiwar play Women of Troy, this production is set in a dystopian future after the energy collapse. The women are trapped in a POW camp in Troy, NY, on the banks of the Hudson River, making do with what they have.

Leigh  is an actor, director, writer and acting teacher. She holds a BFA in dance/drama from New York University and has been taught acting at the Actors and Directors Lab in New York City and the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE) in Bloomsburg, PA. There she acted in dozens of plays, served as ensemble director for three years, and traveled with BTE during a USIA tour of Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia. She is currently an assistant professor at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY. She is also the cofounder and artistic advisor of WAM Theatre (Women’s Action Movement Theatre, with Kristen van Ginhoven, artistic director.  leighstrimbeck.com

Poetry Compote: An Improvisational Poetry Workshop for Women ~ March 23, 2013

Saturday, March 23
Poetry Compote: An Improvisational Poetry Workshop for Women
Led by Lisken Van Pelt Dus
Mason Library, 10–11:30 a.m.

A compote is like a jam, but fresher. . . . This will be an energizing improvisational poetry workshop for women of all experience levels, featuring a series of quick writing prompts and interactive sharing.

Lisken Van Pelt Dus is a poet, teacher, and martial artist, living in Pittsfield, MA. She teaches writing and languages at Monument Mountain Regional High School. Her poetry can be found in Conduit, the South Carolina Review, qarrtsiluni, upstreet and in her chapbook, Everywhere at Once (Pudding House Press, 2009).  lvpdpoetry.blogspot.com

Spring with Silence and the Written Word ~ March 23, 2013

Saturday, March 23
Welcoming Spring with Silence and the Written Word
Led by Tammis Coffin and Christine Ward
Pleasant Valley Nature Sanctuary, 9 a.m.–noon.
Registration: $15 includes Sanctuary admission ($10 for Massachusetts Audubon Society members and Lenox residents).
Space is limited; to register, contact goodcanoe@yahoo.com.

Step out of your busy life to join other women for a peaceful retreat at Pleasant Valley Nature Sanctuary in Lenox. We’ll begin by exploring nature, language, and mindfulness on a moderate hike. We’ll encounter streams, rocks, birds, and possibly a few early blossoms and butterflies. Then we’ll gather inside to write.


Tammis Coffin
, MA, is most at home in the wild places of the world. Her mission is to celebrate and appreciate ecological textures with art and language. For the past ten years she has been organizing writing groups, poetry trails, community performances, and publications to celebrate places such as Monument Mountain, Bartholomew’s Cobble, and Tyringham Cobble. She coordinates the John Hay Ecology Center at the Fells Historic Estate and Gardens near Lake Sunapee, NH.

Christine Ward is a Berkshire County native who delights in the natural world. She cochairs Great Barrington Trails and Greenways and leads hikes and trail work at many local places, including Lake Mansfield and the Appalachian Trail. Christine is always searching for the wonders that inhabit every wild space. As she learns to look and to listen with greater attention, she finds these moments of connection and clarity are the wellsprings that enrich and inform her journey on this amazing planet.

Women Writers on Masculinity: A Reading ~ March 23, 2013

Saturday, March 23
Women Writers on Masculinity: A Reading
Hosted by Nina Ryan and Michelle Gillett, with special guest Katherine Bouton
Gala reception to follow
The Mount, Lenox, 3–5 p.m.

This reading of the winning three essays from this year’s essay contest focuses on the question of masculinity. Women and girls were asked to take on the subject of masculinity in a personal essay, exploring the experiences of culture, body, biology, roles, behavior, language, work, and spirit that have defined or interrogated their ideas of masculinity. Check the Festival website for announcement of the three winning essays.

Michelle Gillett has won poetry fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and published work in numerous literary magazines. Her publications include a chapbook, Rock and Spindle (Mad River Press) as well as Blinding the Goldfinches, published in 2005, winner of the Backwaters Press Poetry Prize and The Green Cottage, winner of the Ledge 2010 Poetry Chapbook competition. She received an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She is a regular op-ed columnist for the Berkshire Eagle and a teacher of writing workshops. www.gillettandryan.com

Nina Ryan is an independent editor and former literary agent who has worked in book publishing for twenty years. As an agent with the Cowles-Ryan Agency and the Palmer & Dodge Agency (now Kneerim & Williams), and as an editor at Random House, she worked closely with a number of writers to develop book proposals and manuscripts for books published by Alfred A. Knopf, Henry Holt & Co., Doubleday, Macmillan, Walker Books, and other major publishers. She received an MA from the Columbia School of Journalism and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.  www.gillettandryan.com

KatherineBouton © Joyce Ravid

This year’s essay contest judge is Katherine Bouton, senior editor at the New York Times for twenty-two years and author of the new book Shouting Won’t Help: Why I—and Fifty Other Million Americans—Can’t Hear You. The book is an engaging account of what it’s like to live with an invisible disability along with a robust prescription for our nation’s increasing problem with deafness.  www.katherinebouton.com

Talk to Her: Interviews with Women Musicians ~ March 23, 2013

Saturday, March 23
Talk to Her: Interviews with Women Musicians
With LaShonda Katrice Barnett
The Bookstore, Lenox, 6–7:30 p.m.

Talk to Her is a reading and discussion of the interviewing process that resulted in the path-breaking books I Got Thunder: Black Women Songwriters on Their Craft and Off the Record: Conversations with African American and Brazilian Women Musicians. These volumes offer critical perspectives on the music‐making processes and careers of renowned twenty-first-century African American and Brazilian women artists, focusing on the musicians’ creative process, inspiration, and experiences within the music industry, as well as on the sound and significance of their musical expressions, including the historical and social contexts in which they were produced.

Photo by Vidura Barrios (www.vidura.net)

LaShonda Katrice Barnett has conducted interviews with over fifty renowned actresses and musicians. In addition to I Got Thunder and Off the Record, she is the author of the story collection Callaloo. A graduate of the University of Missouri, she received an MA in women’s history from Sarah Lawrence College and the PhD in American studies from the College of William and Mary. She has taught African American history and literature and women’s history and literature at the University of Richmond, Hampton University, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Hunter College. She divides her time between Manhattan and Providence, RI, where she is Visiting Scholar in Africana Studies at Brown University.  www.lashondabarnett.com

 

Small Stories in Hidden Places ~ March 24, 2013

Sunday, March 24
The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts presents:
Small Stories in Hidden Places, with Pauline Dongala, Vera Kalm and Carla Oleska
Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield, 1–3 p.m.

This March the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM) presents its first Standing on Her Shoulders Award to women leaders over the age of seventy. In interviewing women for this award, WFWM executive director Carla Oleska noticed that women have a tendency to view their personal stories as being comparatively small and, thus, to keep them hidden—depriving younger women of the benefit of their often groundbreaking life experiences. Along with Standing on Her Shoulders Award recipient Vera Kalm, Pauline Dongala and Carla Oleska will share and discuss their own far-from-small stories.

Pauline Dongala worked for many years at the American embassy in her native country, Congo-Brazzaville, before she was forced to emigrate to the United States with her husband due to civil unrest. She earned a BA in gender studies and cultural relations from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 2011, and is coeditor of the recent anthology African Women Writing Resistance: Contemporary Voices. She is a 2011 graduate of the Leadership Institute for Public and Political Impact, sponsored by the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. She has worked actively on African women’s issues since 1987 and currently serves as vice president of Forum des Femmes pour le Developpement, a Congolese NGO that trains and equips unemployed women, promoting self-sufficiency.

Vera Kalm began her career with the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. During the Hungarian Uprising in 1956, she was sent to work with an international refugee agency in Vienna and on the Austro-Hungarian border. Later, in New York City, she was responsible for facilitating the resettlement of a large group of Hungarian refugees in the United States. Recruited by the World Health Organization for its New York office with the United Nations, she retired as the director of that office—the first nonmedical woman to hold that position. Upon retirement, she served as president of the statewide New Jersey Center for Food Action; vice president of the Bergen Museum of Arts and Sciences; and as an Advisory Group member of the Englewood Health Department. In the Berkshires, she served as tutor and board member of the Southern Berkshire Literacy Network; Board member of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts; and as a founding board member and two-term vice president for Programs of Berkshire Women for Women Worldwide, a local organization supporting the work of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. She was a cofounder and served for ten years on the organizing committee of the annual International Women’s Day Conferences held at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Vera’s love of language (in addition to her mother tongue, Hungarian, and English, she speaks Slovak, German, French, and Russian) led her to undertake literary translations of works into English, including Hungarian Folktales: The Art of Zsuzsanna Palko; Coccioli’s The White Stone; and Tell Me About the United Nations.  www.goodreads.com/book/show/1673883.Hungarian_Folktales

Carla Oleska, PhD, has held the position of chief executive officer of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts since 2006. Prior to joining the fund, Carla had a long and varied career in administration and teaching at Elms College, Chicopee, MA. She has over twenty years of professional experience in creatively addressing the needs of women and girls, specializing in the design of programs enhancing academic preparation, higher education access, degree completion, and leadership development. Her work on behalf of women and girls has been recognized both regionally and nationally. Most recently she was selected as one of one hundred women across the United States to participate in Vision 20/20, a national initiative with the goal of achieving leadership parity in all professional and public sectors.  www.womensfund.net

The Prose Poem ~ March 24, 2013

Sunday, March 24
The Prose Poem
A writing workshop & discussion led by Jessica Treat
Bushnell-Sage Library, Sheffield, 2–4 p.m.

It doesn’t have line breaks, it looks like a paragraph, and . . . it’s a poem? Yes! In this workshop we’ll look at prose poems by Charles Baudelaire, Anne Carson, Wisława Szymborska, and many others, and use prompts to write our own. Come learn about this versatile and exciting form for your words.

Jessica Treat is the author of three collections of short stories: A Robber in the House, Not a Chance, and Meat Eaters & Plant Eaters. She is the recipient of a Connecticut Commission on the Arts Award and the Dominion Review Fiction Award, and artist residencies at the Valparaiso Foundation in Spain and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. She is professor of English at Northwestern Connecticut College.  www.jessicatreat.com

Finding Your Voice ~ March 24, 2013

Sunday, March 24
Finding Your Voice
A writing workshop for middle and high school students led by Anastasia Stanmeyer, editor of Berkshire Magazine
Otis Public Library, 2–5 p.m.

Anastasia Stanmeyer will guide young writers through the process of crafting a feature story. Exercises will spark the imagination, examples of strong writing will inspire, and group collaborations and revisions will lend support. There are no grades or wrong answers. The goal is to tell stories and to enable young writers to unleash their creativity while learning some tricks of the trade. Participants are encouraged to bring writing samples to share and to receive feedback. This workshop is supported by a grant from the Otis Cultural Council.

Anastasia Stanmeyer is editor of Berkshire Magazine. She is an active member of the Berkshire community and lives with her three children and husband on a farm in South County. She spent twelve years in Asia, writing and editing for Time, Asiaweek, Newsweek, Stern, and other magazines. She has written extensively for dailies, such as the Dallas Morning News, the Christian Science Monitor, and San Francisco Chronicle.   www.dancingfields.com

Wind and Rain: Poetry and Song ~ March 27, 2013

Wednesday, March 27
Wind and Rain: Poetry and Song
Rosemary Starace, JoAnne Spies, and the Elemental Orchestra
The Lichtenstein Center, 28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield, 7 p.m.
Suggested donation: $5

“Let me fly away with you, for my love is like the wind.” Enter an elemental landscape that celebrates love, wildness, and all that wind and rain conjure. Poet Rosemary Starace and singer-songwriter JoAnne Spies trade art forms and collaborate with each other and the elements in this interactive performance. Guitar, dulcimer, drums, melodicas, accordions, rattles, and chimes will accompany original and familiar pieces spoken, chanted, and sung.

JoAnne Spies with guitar. Photo by Julie McCarthy

JoAnne Spies’s recent works include Karaoke Confession at the Norman Rockwell Museum and Survivor Tree, sung at Ground Zero with Jane Goodall officiating. Spies heads the Art Cart program at CATA, cocreating songs with elders and people with Alzheimer’s. Her CDs include 2×3, Me & Melville, and North Avenue Honey. CD Nelson says, “She puts the purr in performance art.”   soundingtheriver.blogspot.com

Rosemary StaraceRosemary Starace, writer and visual artist, is author of the poetry collection Requitements and coeditor of Letters to the World, an international poetry anthology. “This is a poetry very much like the blues, full of lacrimae rerum. . . .Hearing it, I feel a weight lifting in my chest that I didn’t know was there.” —Dave Bonta, Via Negativa
www.rosemarystarace.com 

How to Keep Writing with a Full-Time Job ~ March 25, 2013

Monday, March 25
How to Keep Writing with a Full-Time Job
Led by Kate Laity
Blodgett House, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

The urge to write inspires many of us, but the practical limitations of a regular life—job home, friends, family—often seem to conspire to fill all the hours in the day. What sleight of hand does it take to find time and motivation to write? Multitasker extraordinaire Kate Laity will offer sensible approaches to time management and practical suggestions for keeping your writing projects on track and moving forward. No magical skills are required.

K. A. Laity, PhD, is the author of Owl Stretching, Unquiet Dreams, Rook Chant, Chastity Flame, and many more stories, essays, and plays. An all-purpose writer, Fulbrighter, überskiver, medievalist, flâneuse, techno-shamanka, Broad Universe social media wrangler, History Witch, and Pirate Pub Captain, Dr. Laity teaches medieval literature, film, digital humanities, and popular culture at the College of Saint Rose in New York.   kalaity.com

The Female Rebel: Women Writers on the Antiheroine in Fiction ~ March 27, 2013

Wednesday, March 27
The Female Rebel: Women Writers on the Antiheroine in Fiction
Hosted by Edie Meidav, with Rebecca Chace, Rebecca Godfrey, and Rebecca Wolff
Blodgett House, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

Judith and her maidservant, by Artemisia Gentileschi, c. 1612-1613

What is it that women want? What do they do when their desire is thwarted—or scripted upon them—by the society in which they live? Do they choose madness, silence, minstrelsy, or power-mad cunning, as so many of Shakespeare’s characters testify? Or do women find ways to cross the boundaries of ethnicity, class, family order, and tradition and to find new ways to tell an artful truth? In this panel, moderated by Edie Meidav, fiction writers Rebecca Chace, Rebecca Godfrey, and Rebecca Wolff explore what it means to write and to read the antiheroine, yesterday and today. Does rebellion create good art? Does art create good rebellion? Come to this panel with your questions and leave with an expanded vision of possibilities.

Edie Meidav, writer-in-residence at Bard College, is the author of three award-winning novels: Lola, California; Crawl Space; and The Far Field: A Novel of Ceylon. Her next novel is Dogs of Cuba. Her works have been selected as editorial picks by the New York Times and other reviewers. Her recent work on Cuba appears in the literary journals Conjunctions and Zyzzyvawww.ediemeidav.com

Rebecca Chace’s novel Leaving Rock Harbor was named Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review and was a finalist for the 2010 New England Book Award. Her memoir Chautauqua Summer was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and Editor’s Choice; her novel Capture the Flag was adapted for the screen with director Lisanne Skyler. Chace has received the Showtime Tony Cox Screenwriting Award (Short Film) at the Nantucket Film Festival, 2010.   rebeccachace.com

Rebecca Godfrey, photo by Brigitte Lacombe

Rebecca Godfrey is the author of the novel The Torn Skirt and of the nonfiction book Under The Bridge, about the trials for murder of seven teenage girls, which received Canada’s most prestigious prize for literary nonfiction. It has been optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon’s Type A Productions. Godfrey currently teaches a seminar, “Anti-heroines,” at Columbia University and is working on a book on this topic.   www.rebeccagodfrey.com

Rebecca Wolff is the author of three books of poems (Manderley, Figment, The King) and a novel (The Beginners, Riverhead, 2011). She is the founding editor of Fence, and Fence Books, and the Constant Critic. She is a fellow at the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany. She lives in Hudson, NY.   rebeccawolff.com

Kripalu presents: What’s Your Story? ~ March 28, 2013

Thursday, March 28
Kripalu presents:
What’s Your Story?
Workshop led by Lara Tupper
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox, 7:30–9:30 p.m. Free but pre-registration is required. To register, call 800-741-7353.

In this informal writing class, we’ll investigate the notion of samskaras, or deeply embedded ideas about ourselves. What are we clinging to that is no longer serving us and how can we begin to let go? What are the authentic stories we yearn to tell instead? Through writing exercises, we’ll differentiate between the falsehoods that hold us back and the true tales we long to express.

Lara Tupper, MFA, is the author of A Thousand and One Nights, an autobiographical novel about singers at sea. She contributed to Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak. She taught writing at Rutgers University for nine years and now lives in the Berkshires, where she presents writing workshops at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health.   www.laratupper.com

Writing for Personal Evolution ~ March 30, 2013

Saturday, March 30
Writing for Personal Evolution
Workshop led by Dara Lurie
South Berkshire Friends Meeting House, 28 State Road, Great Barrington, 1–3 p.m.

Writing for Personal Evolution is a course of self-discovery through the art and craft of the written word. In this experiential workshop, participants will be introduced to the emotional intelligence contained within the syntax, rhythms, and images of their writing.

Using a sequence of mind-mapping, guided visualization, and absorption writing, participants will learn to approach familiar personal territory with new and surprising insights.

Dara Lurie, MFA, is author of Great Space of Desire: Writing for Personal Evolution, a memoir about race, addiction, and healing through creativity. The book is also a creative guide with worksheets for writers wishing to develop their own life experiences into stories. Dara studied memoir writing and creative process with memoirist Louise DeSalvo at Hunter College. She has taught processed-based writing workshops for over ten years in a variety of continuing education programs in New York City and the Hudson Valley. Dara also hosts the online writing community Transformative Writing, featuring a monthly writing clinic. She is currently developing an online curriculum that will guide writers through the process from start to finish.  www.transformative-writing.com

Solo: Writing Our Own Adventures ~ March 30, 2013

Saturday March 30
Solo: Writing Our Own Adventures
Reading and discussion with Dorothy Albertini, Dawn Paul, and Susan Fox Rogers
South Berkshire Friends Meeting House, 280 State Road, Great Barrington, 3–5 p.m.

Solo adventurers and writers Dorothy Albertini, Dawn Paul, and Susan Fox Rogers will talk about their adventures in the wild and the joys and complications of journeying solo, whether on a trail, by bike, or in a kayak. All three will read from recent work—essays and fiction. This panel will inspire and inform those interested in chronicling their outdoor adventures.

Dorothy Albertini received her MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in 2008. Recent work is in the current issue of Peep/Show. Her work has also appeared in Drunken Boat, Tantalum, the Brooklyn Rail, Going Alone (ed. Susan Fox Rogers), and NANO Fiction, where she was the winner of the first annual NANO fiction contest. The winning piece was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She teaches with Bard’s Institute for Writing and Thinking and the Language and Thinking Program. She writes about bears and people in Poughkeepsie, NY.  dorothyalbertini.com

Dawn Paul is the author of two novels, The Country of Loneliness and Still River. She has created a text/video with painter Ben Johnson and has worked with choreographer Kelley Donovan on dance/poetry pieces. Dawn has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Spring Creek Project. She teaches writing and is the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts.  corvidwriters.org/dpaul/index.html

Susan Fox Rogers is the author of My Reach: A Hudson River Memoir and the editor of twelve book anthologies, including Solo: On Her Own Adventure and Going Alone: Women’s Adventures in the Wild. She teaches the creative essay at Bard College, where she is also codirector of the Environmental and Urban Studies Program.   susanfoxrogers.com

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