Visiting the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers

Posted on: March 17th, 2014 by

berkshiregirlThis weekend, I decided to come out of my hibernation and face this never-ending winter that has everybody moaning and groaning.  I had told myself recently, that I wasn’t going to go out in the elements( except when absolutely necessary), until I could go out in my flip flops and short sleeves.  I know, not a particularly brilliant idea for someone who lives in New England, but a girl has to have dreams.  This though,  is the month of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers , and they were hosting so many fabulous events, that I decided to forego my warm weather thoughts, and get out and participate in the world for a bit. Berkshire winter


The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers has become an annual festival, and it is one that I look forward to.  It is gaining more and more momentum each year, and we are very privileged to have access to such a rich network of talent in our area.  The festival( the first of its kind) is a collaboration between community leaders, businesses and a small legion of talented and vibrant women(and their supporters), all pulling together to make this a possibility.  This year there are fifty-eight different events held at thirty-six different venues throughout the county, giving ample chance to partake in one or more of the events.  The events are varied and include writing workshops, performances, readings and much more. Lenox Library


So, on Saturday afternoon, I bundled up and made my way to the Lenox library, which was the venue for a workshop focused on writing for blogs and social media.  Though I am not a beginner, I knew that I would be able to gain some useful insights from this event.  It was in the upstairs room of the library, and as Berkshiregirl, I am always in awe when I visit this room, with its grand, domed ceiling, which is exquisitely painted with gorgeous detail.  The room is also filled with antiques, old photographs and artifacts from Lenox’s history.  On other days, I have wandered this room for hours without picking up a single book, happy to revel instead in the great historical finds.   But,  this day found the room was filled to capacity for the writer’s workshop and I quickly found a comfortable seat in the back of the group.


This event was hosted by social media expert, Robin Catalano, who works for the ever popular Annie Selke businesses. I thoroughly enjoyed Robin’s presentation, and felt as if we were simply having a great discussion over a cup of tea.  I am an avid fan of everything Annie Selke, so I was especially pleased that the talk focused on many of the techniques that her companies employ( though I was secretly hoping that my face wouldn’t pop up on any of the power point pictures of the Fresh American by Annie Selke  or Pine Cone Hill social media pages, as I am constantly commenting on them!).  The audience had a lot of feedback and seemed to have gained a lot from the experience.  The world of social media is not always easy to navigate, especially in the beginning, so this workshop was a great chance to get some professional advice.


The next morning, I ventured to Pittsfield, and The Beacon Cinema, for another festival event.  This one was being hosted by Berkshire Magazine, and it was a panel discussion of a recent article in the magazine.  It was entitled ‘Writing that Matters’ and the event was moderated by Berkshire Magazine’s Anastasia Stanmeyer.  The panel featured women writers(Jenn Smith, Kristin Moe, Karen Berger, Clemma Dawsen and Judith Schwartz) from our area and beyond. The theatre was filled with women, as well as men, and a lively and informative discussion took place, as the panel fielded questions posed by Stanmeyer.  The discussion focused on activism through writing, and how we can make the world a better place, through our words, and the women on stage have certainly already accomplished this with their writings. the spiral


There are many more scheduled events, and they are all open to the public, and most of them are free.  Though, the festival is here only with the help of generous donations, so giving back to the festival with a small monetary gesture, is a way of ensuring that these wonderful events keep happening.  I, myself am planning on attending one tonight at The Bookloft, in Great Barrington, this one focusing on the self publishing world.  Then, tomorrow is a lecture and sing-a-long with Peggy Seeger.  If I keep looking at the itinerary for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writer’s, I have a feeling my family may just file a missing person report on me, but there are so many inspirational and fun events, that I don’t want to miss a single one!  If you haven’t been to one of their events yet, you are missing out on a great opportunity.  The Berkshires gift us with these enriching offers, it is up to us to open them up and find the treasures inside.  I plan on doing just that!  Have you attended any of these events?  Which one has been your favorite so far?



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2 Responses to Visiting the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers

  1. Sara Belleau had this to say about that:

    Thanks for the great post! I was there for both events and I agree they were both terrific. As a new blogger/aspiring writer I’m in love with the women writer’s festival. I’ll be at the bookloft tonight as well.

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